Governor Albert Bryan (this pic was shot during Inauguration early 2019 in St. Thomas) on Monday, Aug. 24 defended his administration's response to the Coronavirus pandemic. By REEMY-REEMZ PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY FOR VI CONSORTIUM
The V.I. Department of Health has announced the 12th Covid-19-related death in the U.S. Virgin Islands, coming just 4 days after the department reported the 11th fatality. The latest victim according to D.O.H. was a 72-year-old man from St. Thomas; no further details were provided. And it was not clear whether this victim was a resident at the Queen Louise Home for the Aged, many of whom were hospitalized at the Schneider Regional Medical Center following an outbreak at the assisted living facility.
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The 10th victim, a centenarian, was a resident of Queen Louise. The Consortium also learned that the 11th victim was a member of the assisted living facility as well. Whether the 12th victim was a resident of the Queen Louise Home for the Aged has yet to be announced, and the Dept. of Human Services has not issued a statement.
Governor Albert Bryan during his Covid-19 response update Monday appeared frustrated when responding to questions posed by the Consortium. Asked how the virus was able to infiltrate the seniors home in St. Thomas. His response: "Covid."
There was a pause, then he added, "In St. Thomas we have coronavirus at a community-spread level where we felt we needed to shutdown. The reason it is called community spread is because you don't know where it's coming from, and the reason why we shut down is because we don't know where it's coming from. We still don't, and we're just trying to get people to stop moving.
"It's not like there weren't protocols in place or anything, it's just... If you have prison guards, nurses, personnel, medical personnel moving from place to place, people coming in, eventually it's going to happen. It's a matter of when, not a matter of if, so all we can do is try our best to keep it to a minimum and then deal with the situation as quickly as possible."
When asked whether there would have been a different outcome to the current surge in cases if stricter action had been taken earlier, the governor responded with sarcasm. "You mean if I had a crystal ball that could have seen what was going to happen...?"
He added, "The only action I think that we have done that's any different is shutting the bars." Reminded that he had halted the lodging reservation system in the territory, which discouraged visitors from traveling here, the governor asserted, "So what you're saying we should have never opened the territory at all; I don't think that's really feasible. We shut down the territory because we want people to stop moving." Mr. Bryan said the only thing that could have been done differently to keep people safe was if the administration had never allowed bars to reopen.
D.O.H. reported 14 new cases of the virus on Monday: 7 on St. Croix and 7 on St. Thomas. No new cases were reported in St. John.
To date, 998 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the USVI, while 13,613 have tested negative. Including both public (D.O.H.) and private, a total of 14,667 tests have been performed.
D.O.H. said it was tracking 232 active cases as of Monday, while 754 people have recovered, up from 712 the day before, for a total of 42 recoveries between Sunday and Monday.