A total of 194 COVID-19 patients are getting treatment in hospital, public health chief Charmaine Gauci said on Friday, with 15 of them being cared for at Mater Dei's ITU.
There are over 4,000 people in quarantine.
The health briefing came moments after the health authorities confirmed 96 new patients tested positive for COVID-19. A further 132 patients recovered, meaning the number of active cases is now down to 2,076.
A total of 132 patients have died of the virus.
Friday's numbers mark the second time in a week that the daily new cases were less than 100.
Earlier on Friday, Times of Malta reported that according to fresh projections by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the number of new COVID-19 cases registered daily in Malta is expected to remain in the triple digits all the way to Christmas.
Health Minister Chris Fearne, meanwhile, has reassured the public Malta will be among the first countries in the world to get hold of the COVID-19 vaccine when this becomes available in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced bars and clubs would remain closed throughout December as part of efforts to control the spread of the virus.
More deaths registered
Gauci announced a further four deaths, after four patients died of the virus overnight.
An 85-year-old woman who tested positive on November 13 died on Thursday while a 73 year-old-man tested positive on November 20 and died earlier today. Another 72-year-old man tested positive on November 22 and died on Friday. An 81-year-old man who tested positive on November 26 also died on Friday.
Gauci also said there are currently 194 patients in hospital.
- 20 in ITU (five of these have recovered from COVID but still require intensive care)
- 10 in IDU
- 38 in other wards at Mater Dei
- 22 at Boffa Hospital
- 18 at St Thomas Hospital
- Nine at Karin Grech hospital
- 21 at the Good Samaritan unit
Seven homes for the elderly are dealing with outbreaks while there are 75 active cases in Gozo.
Although there continue to be high numbers of new cases, Gauci said there is now stability and the moving average has gone down to 121 cases per day.
The most common age group is still the 25 to 44 age group, Gauci said.
Where are the new cases from?
Gauci again confirmed the household clusters continue to be the most problematic. This week alone, 140 cases were from household clusters while 52 were from workplaces.
There were six cases from social gatherings and five imported cases.
The public health chief reminded the public about mandatory mask-wearing, saying this should fit well and should not be touched while being worn.
"If for some reason you need to take off your, mask put on sanitizer before and after you touch it," Gauci urged.
On testing at the airport, Gauci said around half of the passengers coming from countries on amber list were not bringing test results with them. These passengers are being tested upon arrival.
Regular inspections at Good Samaritan
Gauci said the health authorities carry out regular inspections at the Good Samaritan unit and even inspected the unit earlier this week. The distance between the beds is of more than 2 metres, she said.
"We are also urging the unit to ensure better contact with the relatives especially through digital means," Gauci said.
Gauci said COVID fatigue is happening all over world and this could possibly be because people don’t understand the importance of measures to lessen pandemic.
"The pandemic is real, we can see it. Talk to public heath team and hear the stories of people it affects, talk to staff taking care of patients, talk to staff in ITU...
"Speak to relatives of people who have died. We have 4,000 people in quarantine at the moment. It’s real and evidence shows us how to prevent it. We all have the responsibly and duty to follow this measures to control the situation," Gauci said.
'It will be just me, my husband and my son on Christmas'
Encouraging people to help keep each other safe by not meeting up in large groups for Christmas lunches, Gauci said she will also be doing so.
"I will spend Christmas with my small family. Because we all understand this is a pandemic, it will be just me, my husband and my son."
"Enjoy Christmas but avoid tragedies. If the we expose the elderly, we are putting them at risk. Keep this in mind," she urged.
Less cases of seasonal flu
So far, the health authorities haven't seen the number of flu cases normally detected this time of the year.
This, Gauci said, is likely because measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as mask-wearing and good hand hygiene, are also helping stop the spread of others diseases, including the flu.
Total number of inspections: 75,444
Breaking quarantine citations: 206
Positive cases breaking quarantine citations: 56
Breaking mitigation measures rules: 150
Not wearing a mask: 164
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