An 82-year-old man died of coronavirus on Thursday, Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci announced on Friday during her weekly press briefing.
The man who was a resident at the St Vincent de Paul facility for the elderly, had tested positive on 21 November.
To date, the pandemic has claimed 149 lives with seventeen deaths being registered over the past week.
During the press briefing, it emerged that seventeen individuals are in intensive care. The majority of patients are recovering at home. While others are hospitalized. Prof. Gauci said that there are 11 individuals at the Infectious Diseases Unit, 45 patients in other wards at Mater Dei Hospital, 23 individuals at Boffa Hospital, 24 individuals at St Thomas Hospital, 10 individuals are at Karin Grech Hospital, 64 individuals are at the Good Samaritan longterm facility, while three patients are receiving care at the Gozo General Hospital and three others are at Mount Carmel Hospital.
The average age of a coronavirus patient is 45 but Prof. Gauci warned that there was a slight increase of cases in the highly-vulnerable 85-94 age group.
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The Superintendent of Public Health makes an appeal, while we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, let us keep adhering to the measures. "I understand that Christmas is coming up and we cannot celebrate as in the previous years, but this too shall pass," she concludes.
Regarding the influenza vaccine, Prof. Gauci says that front-liners and the elderly remain their priority.
On the question relating to the side effects; Prof. Gauci says that fever and fatigue have been reported but when comparing these side effects to what happens when one contracts the virus, it speaks for itself.
Covid-19 vaccination will not be obligatory. But experience has showed us, that we have a good vaccination uptake, Prof. Gauci remarks.
A person who has contracted coronavirus, needs to take the vaccine. The body builds an immunity to a natural infection but this is not long lasting. The immunity built when one takes the vaccine is long lasting.
More questions related to the vaccine: those who have already contracted it, do they need to take the vaccine?
Prof. Gauci says that how long this situation will persist is dependent on various factors.
Prof. Gauci says that Malta has entered into joint procurement procedure. The plan is for the vaccines to be given the greenlight by the end of year. The vaccines will be given out according to the doses allocated by the EU. The candidate vaccines will be given in two shots.
Regarding Republic Day ceremony – Prof. Gauci refers to the guidelines which had been published before relating to the different activities. She underlines that social distancing and the wearing of masks remain important.
There were a number of cases in schools – staff and students have tested positive. Quarantine is imposed on members of the school community following a risk assessment. Not everyone is quarantined.
4,168 people are in quarantine including health care workers.
Prof. Gauci says that the health authorities have been preparing for this. She says that the symptoms are similar and it is difficult to differentiate.
"That's why we have so many swabbing centres. To meet the demands, we are investing in the rapid swab tests, which are being carried out at Boffa Hospital. We've also switched to rapid tests at the airport. This has been our strategic plan," Prof. Gauci says.
How do you differentiate between Covid-19 and influenza?
"During the Christmas festivities, keep to your households. People can be asymptomatic and this can lead to more spread when inviting people who are not from your household over the festivities," Prof. Gauci underlines.
She delivers a summary of the briefing in English.
Our first aim is to reduce the mortality rate, Prof. Gauci says, addressing the issue on who will be receiving the vaccine first. She urges caution and urges the public to continue taking the necessary measures until this day arrives.
"We are in a situation where we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel," Prof. Gauci says in reaction to the news of the two candidate vaccine filing for licensing with the EMA.
Have you downloaded the Covid-19 Alert App? Almost 18% of the population (digital age) did.
Prof. Gauci reiterates that during this period many develop symptoms which could be either Covid-19 or flu. She urges the public to call 111 and get tested.
Rapid tests done from 19 – 25 November, 810 tests were done of which five individuals tested positive.
The individuals arrived from Austria (1), Germany (1) and Italy (3).
On arrival testing continued during the past week.
Those masks having exhalation filters should not be used.
The inner layer should be cotton according to these guidelines. The outermost layer should be made of hydrophobic material e.g. polyester or polyester blend.
The World Health Organisation has issued guidelines on cloth masks. Prof. Gauci refers those making their own masks to the guidelines issued by WHO on how these should be made in order to reduce the spread of droplets, ensuring that one can breathe and the fit.
The use of mask as well as other mitigation measures brings the situation under control.
She reminds the public to take the necessary precautionary measures. The virus spreads easier in closed environments.
17 individuals died of coronavirus over the past week.
A slight increase was registered in the 85-90 age group.
Most cases were individuals aged between 25-44.
There are 68 active cases on Gozo.
She also urges the employers to take the necessary measures to curb the spread at the workplace. She also advises employees to remain home if they develop any symptoms.
Most cases are from the household cluster. Prof. Charmaine Gauci urges the public to take the necessary precautions when they develop symptoms.
Transmission is still present in seven care homes.
The 7-day moving average is at 113, down from 120 the previous week.
Intensive care (ITU): 17
Mater Dei Hospital, other wards: 45
Boffa Hospital: 23
St Thomas Hospital: 24
Karin Grech Hospital: 10
Good Samaritan: 64
Gozo General Hospital: 3
Mount Carmel Hospital: 3
Update on hospitalized patients:
An 82-year-old man who was a resident at SVDP died on Thursday evening. The man tested positive on 21 November.
Prof. Gauci starts addressing the press conference.
Malta has registered 123 coronavirus cases, the health authorities just announced on the ministry's page, Saħħa.
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