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Dept. of Health Explains Confusing Coronavirus 'Recovered' Numbers

Coronavirus Published On June 29, 2020 05:46 AM
Ernice Gilbert | June 29, 2020 05:46:00 AM

As Coronavirus cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands surged in the past two weeks, with the Dept. of Health moving from tracking two individuals late May to 10 cases just last Wednesday, there was a sudden rise in the number of cases listed as "recovered" by D.O.H.

Seven cases were confirmed in the past two weeks: Two on St. John, one in St. Thomas, and four on St. Croix. But in its latest coronavirus data infographic issued Friday, the Dept. of Health revealed that it was only tracking four cases. D.O.H. said 64 people had recovered from the virus last Wednesday. On Thursday, the number climbed to 67, and on Friday, the department said 71 people had recovered, and 6 individuals have died as a result of the virus. Overall, 81 cases have been confirmed as positive.

The Dept. of Health follows the 14-day quarantine period guideline for those suspected of having the disease. However, 7 of the 10 cases were only reported by the department in the last two weeks: with St. John registering 2; St. Croix four, and St. Thomas 1 — five of which were confirmed just last week.

Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion on Sunday responded to a Consortium question seeking clarification on the five cases confirmed last week, and why D.O.H. was only tracking 4 individuals. "One of those was someone tested as routine screening prior to their travel here and therefore the 14 days started from the date they were tested — asymptomatic," the commissioner said.

Questions still linger: Where are those four cases? Are there no cases being tracked on St. John? How many on St. Croix are being tracked since four were confirmed last week?

Governor Albert Bryan will update the territory today on his administration's plan as cases of the virus surge in the USVI. Last week, Mr. Bryan said he was contemplating closing bars, because, "That seems to be where the spread is coming from," he said.

Mr. Bryan added, "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."

Asked 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."

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