USVI Covid Cases Jump to 120, With St. Thomas Accounting for 102, as Latest Covid Surge Grips Charlotte Amalie
The surge in Covid-19 cases in St. Thomas reported last Monday by the USVI’s top infectious disease official, Dr. Esther Ellis, has grown by about forty new infections in the past few days, and the surge may now be affecting the British Virgin Islands as inter-island travel resumes.
According to the latest data provided by the V.I. Dept. of Health, the USVI as of May 27 had 120 active Covid-19 cases, with St. Croix accounting for 10, St. John 8 and St. Thomas 102.
During his Monday press briefing, Governor Albert Bryan said the numbers in St. Thomas and St. John were “trending in the wrong direction, and if the numbers are trending in the wrong direction on any one of our islands, there’s a potential for them to trend in the wrong direction on all of our islands.” He urged Virgin Islanders to remain vigilant and continued to encourage wearing of masks, social distancing and the avoidance of mass gatherings. Also “take the vaccine now,” he said.
The surge is occurring among unvaccinated individuals, with the latest increase in cases disproportionately affecting people in the accommodation and food service industries, said Dr. Ellis. She also revealed that 50.2 percent of Virgin Islanders, or 39,871 individuals that are eligible for Covid-19 vaccination have received at least their first shot, while 39.9 percent (31,645 individuals) have been fully vaccinated as of Monday.
According to BVI National Epidemiologist Harmony Massiah, several cases of the virus affecting the British territory were coming through the Road Town Ferry Dock, and BVI health officials have been investigating predictive factors relative to persons traveling through said travel portal. Most Road Town Ferry Dock operations offer service between St. Thomas BVI, including Road Town Fast Ferry, Native Son, Inter-Island Ferry and others, according to BVI Welcome.
Massiah, who was speaking during a recent press conference said that there had been a surge in the number of reported cases in the BVI around May 15, and this was predominantly through cases that have been imported.
The St. Thomas surge comes as Covid-19 restrictions are being gradually lifted both locally and on the federal level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this month that fully vaccinated people didn’t need to wear mask or social distance inside or outside, in small or large settings.
On Tuesday, Government House announced Mr. Bryan’s 24th supplemental executive order aimed at further easing Covid-19 restrictions — among them raising passenger limits on taxis and allowing patrons to sit at the bar in restaurants and clubs. The executive order also extends the eviction suspension through July 30.
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