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V.I. Dept. of Health Territorial Epidemiologist, Dr. Esther Ellis said Monday that a slight increase in Covid-19 cases in the territory can be expected during the winter months.
Already, she said infection rates have increased this week with 42 active cases territory-wide and four hospitalizations. Most of the reported cases, 36, have been identified on St. Croix with one hospitalization at the Juan F. Luis Hospital; three have been identified on St. Thomas all of whom are hospitalized at the Schneider Regional Medical Center, as well as two cases on St John.
“As we indicated previously, Covid-19 has become endemic. This means that it’ll always be circulating in our community and other communities elsewhere. However, when case numbers increase, people should be more deliberate in how we do things,” she cautioned.
Dr. Ellis continues to encourage residents and visitors to follow measures that reduce the spread of the virus like getting vaccinated or boosted or social distancing, washing of hands and wearing face masks. This she said is particularly important as the tourism season enters its peak.
“We all know the steps to take. The new Omicron variants XBB, BA.4.6, BQ1, BQ 1.1 and BF7 are predicted to be more contagious so every little precaution each of us individually takes in the coming months can have a tremendous benefit for our Virgin Islands as a community,” she said.
Dr. Ellis is also encouraging residents to get their annual flu shots especially people who are immune compromised.