The V.I. Dept. of Health on Tuesday announced the latest Covid-related death in the U.S. Virgin Islands, carrying the territory's total to thirty-three since the pandemic started in March 2020.
"After further investigating cause of death and ensuring notification of next of kin, the Virgin Islands Department of Health is saddened to confirm the territory’s thirty-third death related to Covid-19. The deceased is an 80-year-old female on St. Thomas," the department revealed.
Governor Albert Bryan said Monday that the sixteen Covid-related hospitalizations announced by health officials today — up from fifteen on Sunday — represented the highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began in March 2020. He urged residents to take utmost precaution and to get vaccinated to prevent a greater surge.
Conveying the seriousness of the current increase in cases, V.I. Dept. of Health Territorial Epidemiologist, Dr. Esther Ellis, stated, "In the past week there has been a record 161 new infections — the highest new infections for a week in 2021 thus far."
She added, "That's not a record we want to be making."
As of Monday there were 157 active Covid-19 cases territory-wide, seventy on St. Croix, eighty-one on St. Thomas and two on St. John. The territory's positivity rate climbed to 4.5 percent from 3.5 percent last week, according to Dr. Ellis.
The sixteen hospitalizations include five on St. Croix and eleven on St. Thomas. On Sunday, V.I. Dept. of Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion told the Consortium there would be more deaths and hospitalizations if the territory had not been utilizing monoclonal antibody (MAB) treatments on patients, which has been proven to help severely ill Covid patients recover. The Schneider Regional Medical Center has administered 203 MAB treatments to date, while the Juan F. Luis Hospital has administered forty-three, according to the health commissioner.