[WATCH] 39 new coronavirus cases as average age of infected goes up to 51

COVID-19 update for 18 September | 39 new cases, 18 recoveries • 621 active cases • Swab tests past 24 hours 2,632 • 2 patients recovering in ITU • St Joseph Home in Fgura with 97 residents and 23 carers infected by coronavirus

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

Malta registered 39 new cases of coronavirus and one death over the past 24 hours, according to the latest public health update.

There were 18 recoveries, bringing the total number of active cases to 621. There are 20 active cases in Gozo.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci during her weekly COVID-19 briefing said the average age of those infected with the virus has now risen to 50.6 as a result of outbreaks among elderly communities in homes. Two patients are recovering in ITU.

Giving a breakdown of the outbreak in elderly homes, Gauci said there were two residents from Casa San Paolo in St Paul's Bay, 30 residents and six carers from Casa Antonia in Balzan, and 97 residents and 23 carers from St Joseph Home in Fgura.

43 patients are being treated at hospitals according to Gauci. Two are being treated at the ITU and are breathing with the help of ventilator, nine are at the Infectious Diseases Unit, ten are being hosted at Mater Dei, 10 patients are being housed at Sir Paul Boffa Hospital and 12 are being housed at St Thomas Hospital.

Asked what has caused the spike in COVID-19 cases at elderly homes, Gauci pointed out that the buildings serve as residence for the elderly, and so they are free to move about.

“If someone with the virus, who has not yet been tested, comes into contact with someone else, it is very easy to transmit the virus,” she said.

Earlier on Friday, the health ministry announced the country’s 17th COVID-related death, after a 91-year-old woman died. She contracted the virus last month.

Gauci urged people to continue to adhere to public health restrictions on social distancing and gatherings. She also recommended that face masks should be worn everywhere.

Asked whether schools’ reopening should be postponed for two weeks, Gauci was evasive and did not answer the questions fielded to her, instead opting to speak on measures. ­­

She said the new contact tracing app launched this morning would help public health officers in their efforts to identify potential cases.

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