ST. THOMAS – A COVID-19 outbreak among worshipers who attended a church service is leading to an increase in positive cases in St. Thomas, Health Commissioner VI Justa Encarnacion said at a press briefing on Monday.
“Our epidemiology team was involved,” and more than half of the worshipers have already been tested, said Encarnacion.
There are currently 94 active cases in the territory, including 77 in Saint-Thomas, 16 in Sainte-Croix and one in Saint-Jean, and Encarnacion said the Saint-Thomas peak was mainly in unvaccinated people.
The church service has been identified as a “cluster-related incident,” Encarnacion said, and additional cases are likely due to “private functions and parties held against governor’s orders” during the traditional carnival week.
Encarnacion said the pandemic is now a “chronic episode” and “I know the party itch is alive, but please take a moment and watch the trends.”
Hospitalizations have declined when residents adhere to public health guidelines, and “it’s unfortunate that we still see this type of trend because the vaccine is widely available and easily accessible,” Encarnacion said.
There are currently no COVID-19 patients at Luis de Sainte-Croix Hospital, and three patients are being treated for COVID-19 at Schneider Hospital in Saint-Thomas. None of the patients are on a ventilator, Encarnacion said.
There have been 27 deaths from COVID-19 in the territory.
“Our weekly positivity rate is 3.33%, this is a dramatic increase from 1.86% last week,” Encarnacion said. “We have seen a significant increase in cases in Saint-Thomas. You have to do your part.
A COVID-19 outbreak among staff at the Lieutenant Governor’s office in St. Thomas caused services to shut down in April.
Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach replaced Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. at Monday’s weekly press conference as Bryan is out of the territory and has addressed the shutdown, which has caused headaches for real estate and insurance agents .
In both districts, there was “a cybersecurity breach at one point in April, and it affected all of our divisions. It affected some of the other government agencies as well – although many of them didn’t say anything, ”Roach said.
There was a “significant” impact on the Recorder of Deeds and Corporations and Trademarks division, and as soon as this issue was resolved, “we had a COVID outbreak in our offices at the Nisky Center,” which shut down all divisions, Roach said.
Some employees have been quarantined for up to eight days and “I’m happy to say that employees, even in these cases, have taken work home,” Roach said. “We had to clean and disinfect the offices thoroughly, and when they came back they were even working weekends updating the records, so in St. Thomas-St. John District, we were able to effectively deal with the backlog at the end of last week. “
The District of Sainte-Croix has reshuffled its employees and resources to deal with a real estate boom that has increased the workload of its small staff, and “we expect this backlog to be resolved by the end of this year. this week, ”Roach said.
Roach also said a second batch of $ 1,400 stimulus checks will be released this week, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue has set up a hotline, 340-714-9325, to answer questions about the stimulus checks. .
The central offices of the VI Housing Authority in St. Thomas closed Friday and Monday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The offices have been cleaned and disinfected and will reopen today, according to a press release.
The VI Public Finance Authority announced Monday afternoon that its St. Thomas office at 5033 Kongens Gade will be closed all week “for cleaning and disinfection after a staff member tests positive for COVID-19.” The office will reopen on May 17 and staff will work remotely and be available by email. For assistance, call the Sainte-Croix office at 340-778-1835.
The COVID-19 hotline in Sainte-Croix is 340-712-6299, and in Saint-Thomas and Saint-Jean, call 340-776-1519.
To date, 38,165 first doses of the vaccine have been administered and 29,033 people have received second doses. The territory is 11,835 first doses away from the July 1 target of 50,000, Encarnacion said.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, call the VITEMA hotline Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 340-777-8227.