Coronavirus: 121 new cases, two more deaths as 203 patients are recovering in hospitals

COVID-19 update for 20 November | 121 new cases, 105 recoveries • 2,167 active cases • 2 more deaths bring total to 108 • Swab tests past 24 hours 3,377 • 15 patients in ITU, including 2 in Gozo • 77 elderly patients treated at Good Samaritan Home

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

Two more deaths from COVID-19 were registered over the past 24 hours as Malta recorded 121 new cases, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said.

An 86-year-old woman died yesterday night at Mater Dei Hospital. She contracted COVID-19 on 5 November. A second woman, 75, died at Mater Dei this morning after contracting coronavirus on 10 November.

Giving a breakdown of figures, Gauci said the seven-day moving average stood at 121 new cases per day. There were 203 COVID-19 patients receiving care in hospitals.

She said 13 patients were recovering at Mater Dei's ITU and another two patients were receiving intensive therapy at Gozo General Hospital.

Where are patients recovering?

13 ITU Mater Dei • 13 Infectious Diseases Unit Mater Dei • 42 other wards at MDH • 20 Boffa Hospital • 22 St Thomas Hospital • 77 Good Samaritan Home • 1 Mount Carmel Hospital • 2 ITU Gozo Hospital • 13 other wards Gozo Hospital

Gauci said four of the patients recovering at Mater Dei's ITU were aged between 60 and 69, and the other nine patients were aged between 70 and 79.

There are currently 2,167 active cases, including 59 in Gozo.

Gauci said regular testing on residents and workers at elderly care homes was stepped up to identify cases and isolate them immediately.

Active cases at homes for elderly

74 Dar Pinto • 39 Golden Care Home • 25 Zammit Clapp Hospital • 26 Casa Paola • 7 San Lawrenz • 13 Saint Vincent de Paul

Gauci explained that the hospital facility Good Samaritan in St Paul's Bay was being used to isolate elderly patients from residences that did not have adequate space to keep infected residents apart. This facility currently had 77 people recovering there.

The situation at the Corradino Correctional Facility has improved with Gauci reporting that there were two inmates and four staff members positive for COVID-19.

Once again the most prominent clusters are family clusters and workplaces. Gauci appealed to employers to let their workers work from home if possible.

At Malta International Airport, between the 12 and 18 November, 610 tests were conducted, leading to 12 positive cases. Since the airport was reopened, 2,439 tests were carried out yielding 78 positive cases.

Underlying conditions no longer listed in bulletin

Asked why the words 'underlying conditions' are no longer listed when deaths are announced, Gauci said she did not think further information than that being released - age and when the patient tested positive for coronavirus - needed to be provided to the public, and whether the victims had underlying conditions or not was not a public matter.

Christmas celebrations

Gauci said people had to understand that this Christmas will be different from any other.

She argued that the vulnerable and elderly must be cared for even over the Christmas period because transmissions are still high within the community. She said social distancing measures, the wearing of face masks and not gathering in large groups should remain staple behaviours throughout the period.

Turning to the vaccine, she said the main purpose of vaccination was to prevent deaths.

Gauci said that it has yet to be confirmed whether Malta will have the vaccine by the end of the year. She reminded the public that the procurement process was in the hands of the European Union.

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