The average age of Covid-19 cases in the past week has increased on what it was in previous weeks, with cases of the virus being reported in three elderly homes, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said on Friday.
Gauci was speaking in her weekly press conference, after the announcement of another 43 new cases of Covid-19. 30 recovieries were also registered in the previous 24 hours.
Gauci said that the case numbers have slowly started to stabilise, but noted that there has been an increase in recent days which has to be monitored
Giving details about the Covid-19 cases who are hospitalised, Gauci said that there are eight patients in the Infectious Diseases Unit at Mater Dei Hospital, one in ITU, four in other wards at Mater Dei, eight at Boffa Hospital and a further 15 at St Thomas Hospital.
The person currently in ITU is in a stable condition, while three of those in the Infectious Diseases Unit are in critical condition. All of those in critical condition are over the age of 80, but two patients aged 37 and 44 are also receiving treatment in the same unit.
She said that the health authorities are seeing a rise in both family and work clusters, as well as in old people’s homes, where 33 cases were registered in the past week. 51 cases of family members of positive cases were found in the past week, while 22 cases from workplace clusters were also found.
In terms of the situation in nursing homes, Gauci said that they are strengthening testing of carers and patients in these facilities in order to be able to catch the virus quicker.
She said there are currently 13 active cases – two of which are carers – in the Casa Antonio home for the elderly; 2 active cases in the San Paolo home, and 32 active cases at the St. Joseph Elderly Home in Fgura. Seven of the latter are carers, while 25 are patients.
Gauci said that in the recent days the health authorities had seen a rise in the number of elderly people affected. The average age of the people hit by the virus is now 47, where it had been below 40 in previous weeks.
A further 16 new cases from the last week have been traced back to gatherings between friends or family, while a further 10 have been traced to a bodybuilding competition. The cluster of cases centred on the Marsa Junction Project meanwhile is now up to 21.
14 of the 399 active cases are in Gozo, she said.
Gauci also said that six imported cases, all from Spain, were detected at the Malta International Airport in the past week.
Taking questions from journalists, Gauci confirmed that one of Friday’s new cases was a person who had tested positive for the virus a second time – a first for Malta. She said that this person had first contracted the virus on 13 April, and was registered as recovered on 27 April. The person tested positive for the virus again on Thursday and has minimal symptoms.
Asked by The Malta Independent about a case where a person was in contact with someone who later turned out to be positive for the virus but was not called in for testing and was only told to spend 14 days in quarantine, Gauci said that procedures with regards to contact tracing and testing had not changed. She said that one must make a distinction between a close contact – wherein quarantine would be obligatory and a test would be arranged for five days or so later to give the virus a chance to incubate – and a person with less contact to the case.
Also asked by this newsroom what her message is to those on social media who continue to spread unofficial, and sometimes false, information about the pandemic and to those who follow such persons, Gauci reminded that it is important to keep following official bulletins as issued by health authorities.
“We promised transparency from the very beginning”, she said, noting that official information is published daily at 12:30 before thanking journalists and appealing to the public to follow official information about the pandemic.
Asked for details about the situation vis-a-vis Covid-19 and migrants, Gauci said that there are currently 35 cases in Lyster Barracks, 37 in the Marsa Open Centre, and 1 in the Safi Centre.