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Harrowing reminder of Covid dangers as Govt reports five deaths in one day

Pic: Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government confirmed five Covid-19 related deaths on Wednesday, as the number of active cases climbed back over 1,000.
The deceased include a man in his 70s with no underlying conditions and four patients of Elderly Residential Services.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said their deaths were a harrowing reminder of the devastating impact of the virus on everyone and urged the public to adhere to the restrictions in a bid to reduce the number of cases.
All five deaths have been recorded as deaths from Covid-19.
The latest figures mean 23 people have now passed away due to conditions directly or indirectly related to Covid-19.
They also mark 16 deaths in the first 13 days of this year.
The grim news has meant more than double the number of deaths have occurred in 2021 in comparison to last year, when seven Covid-related deaths were recorded.
The first of the five deaths was a man aged in his early 70s who had no underlying health conditions and passed away on Tuesday night of Covid-19 pneumonitis.
The second was a resident of Elderly Residential Services, a woman aged in her late 80s, who had underlying health conditions and died on Wednesday morning of Covid-19 pneumonia.
The third was a man also aged in his late 80s who died of Covid-19 pneumonia and who had some long-term underlying medical conditions that were well controlled.
The fourth was a woman in her early to mid-90s who had some underlying medical conditions that are common with advancing age and died of Covid-19 pneumonia.
The fifth was a woman in her early to mid-80s, who died of Covid-19 pneumonia and suffered from some medical conditions including breathing difficulties.
The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, lamented the news, adding that it was deeply upsetting to have to announce more deaths.
“The loss of valued members of our community to Covid- 19 is ever more painful, and my deepest sympathies lie with the family and friends of the deceased,” Mr Picardo said.
“The extremely dedicated staff at the GHA have never been under more pressure than they are under right now.”
“Please do everything in your power to help bring our numbers of cases down.”
“Stay at home, wear a mask, wash your hands and sign up to receive a vaccine when the GHA offer it to you.”
“These are the best, indeed the only ways, to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”

68% OF CASES IN ONE MONTH
The highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic has brought into sharp relief the effects of the uncontrolled spread of the virus in recent weeks and comes as there are 162 Covid positives needing care in Gibraltar across Elderly Residential Services, the Covid-19 Ward and the Critical Care Unit.
There are 116 positives in ERS, 35 in the Covid-19 Ward and 11 in CCU.
On Wednesday active Covid-19 cases rose to 1017 after 107 new cases were detected.
Including cross-frontier workers, the figure stood at 1151.
But Wednesday’s continued rise follows a month-long surge of cases after a low of 37 actives on December 13.
Over 2,300 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Gibraltar since December 13, meaning 68% of all confirmed cases have been detected in a month.
On December 13, the overall number of cases confirmed since the beginning of the pandemic was 1075.
A few weeks later, the total confirmed number for all the year so far was doubled by an onslaught of new cases.
The continued increase in cases has also been reflected in the cruel rise of positives in ERS and in St Bernard’s Hospital.
On December 13, there were none in ERS, one in CCU and two in the Covid-19 Ward.
The stark reality of this surge is the rise in the death toll, which has increased more than four-fold from five on December 13 to 23 on January 13.
In the past month, the number of tests carried out has also increased by over 35,000, the equivalent of more than one test per person across the whole population as a strained Gibraltar Health Authority strives to limit the spread.
The Contact Tracing Bureau, also overwhelmed, has worked to break the chain of spread.
On Wednesday, of the 94 new resident cases in Gibraltar, 43 had been identified as close contacts of existing active cases and 9.5% of the local population was either in self-isolation or active.

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