The U.S. Virgin Islands has moved from tracking only two coronavirus cases before the "Open Doors" phase of the Bryan administration's reopening plan, to 10 on Wednesday and now 8 as of Thursday, as the V.I. Department of Health confirmed a new case of the deadly pathogen on St. Thomas, but said three additional individuals had recovered from the disease.
The infographic released by the Dept. of Health Thursday night confirms that the latest case in St. Thomas is travel-related.
On St. Croix, the Department of Health is tracking several new cases, including two reported on Wednesday — one related to travel and another transmitted through close contact. V.I. D.O.H. recently shutdown a bar/nightclub on St. Croix in the United Shopping Plaza, and urged all those who patronized the facility during a 14-day window from the time it was closed, to call the department's hotline.
As of Thursday, 2,798 coronavirus tests have been performed in the territory, of which 2,705 returned negative and 81 positive. Six people have died and 67 people have recovered, according to D.O.H. There were 12 tests pending as of Thursday.
Request for comment from Governor Albert Bryan on Thursday was not immediately returned. However, when asked on Monday what it would take to walk back the reopening from "Open Doors" to the "Safer at Home" phase, Mr. Bryan said, "I think it would take people showing up at the hospital, showing that we have a surge for us to be identifying cases and where they are being identified coming from community spread. That would be the ticker."
Mr. Bryan said he was considering shutting down bars to help blunt the sudden growth of the virus in the territory. "Right now the bar is one of the targets we're looking at and really contemplating if we need to shutdown bars and just have restaurants open, because that seems to be where the spread is coming from," the governor said Monday during his Covid-19 press briefing. "People don't wear their masks and it goes without saying that alcohol lowers your inhibitions; you start getting touchy-feely, hugging people, and that doesn't work with Covid."
Also on Monday, the governor downplayed the connection of Covid-19 cases in the territory to tourists.
"I really like the national push to keep people vigilant and keep people nervous," he said. "Florida, Texas, California and New York are the four most populated states in America so of course their numbers are going to be getting high. But I'd like to remind everybody [that] the majority of this stuff that we have is our own residents moving back and forth, coming for funerals, coming home for trips. This is how we're getting infected; not tourists."