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The USVI has been experiencing a considerable increase in Covid-19 cases in the past week, with St. Thomas once again topping the 100 cases mark, prompting local leaders to sound the alarm.
According to data provided on Tuesday by the V.I. Dept. of Health, there were 165 active Covid-19 cases territory-wide, 101 on St. Thomas, 59 on St. Croix and 5 on St. John.
Also on Tuesday, D.O.H. announced the 33rd Covid-related death, which was recorded in St. Thomas. The victim was identified as an 80-year-old woman.
Sounding the Alarm
USVI Health officials have been ramping up their calls to the public to get vaccinated, as the highly transmissible and deadly Delta Covid-19 variant — which British Virgin Islands health officials believe is responsible for the calamitous situation in the BVI — has also been suspected in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with concrete proof coming sometime this week.
Governor Albert Bryan said Monday that the sixteen Covid-related hospitalizations announced by health officials Monday — 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, 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.