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Virus cases rise to 13 among ERS residents

Pic: Johnny Bugeja

The number of cases of Covid-19 in Gibraltar’s Elderly Residential Services rose by eight over the weekend to reach 13 on Sunday, the Gibraltar Government confirmed in its latest daily update.

Earlier this week, the Gibraltar Government announced it was locking down ERS facilities and stopping family visits after three positive cases were detected among elderly residents, rising to five by Friday. Five members of staff had also tested positive.

The number of cases in ERS facilities has since increased, with 13 residents now having tested positive for the virus, a Gibraltar Government spokesman told the Chronicle.

There are also now 11 members of staff at ERS who have tested positive, and a further 27 are in isolation, the spokesman added.

The lockdown of ERS facilities was announced last Monday by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who said his government had taken the decision “with a heavy heart”.

“I know how painful it will be to be prevented from seeing loved ones in ERS,” Mr Picardo said at the time.

“I can only apologise to you for having no choice but to impose this restriction.”

“It is administratively burdensome for the nurses and carers as many family members are the best carers of their relatives.”

"But we really have no choice.”

“In ERS, the reality is we are dealing with a matter of life and death for the residents in our care if we do not act, and we will not let them down by not acting.”

Mr Picardo said the restriction would be in place for no longer than was strictly necessary, urging relatives of residents to support the staff at ERS to help them provide the necessary care and response.

On Sunday, there were 134 active cases of Covid-19 in Gibraltar, including 133 residents and one visitor, according to the latest information update.

That represents three fewer cases than on Saturday. An overnight increase of seven cases from Saturday to Sunday was balanced by nine recoveries.

But the number of active cases detected on the Rock as of Sunday is higher if cross-border workers, who will recover at the homes in Spain, are factored into the total.

As of the latest update on Sunday, the total active cases including both residents and cross-border workers identified with Covid-19 through testing in Gibraltar stood at 157.

There were six people in the Covid-19 ward in St Bernard’s Hospital on Sunday - down from eight on Saturday - and one in the critical care unit.

There are currently 715 people in self-isolation.

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