The Virgin Islands Department of Health on Friday night confirmed three additional cases of the coronavirus in the USVI, bringing the territory's total count of confirmed cases to six, doubling the number of confirmed cases in two days. On Wednesday, the department confirmed the territory's third case of the virulent pathogen.
Here's the breakdown:
According to the Dept. of Health, the latest St. Croix confirmed case was a resident who recently returned home and was self-quarantined at home. This person has since recovered, the health department said.
One of the latest St. Thomas cases was a close contact of a prior case that quarantined with the case, and the second confirmed case for the St. Thomas/St. John is a Cyril E. King airport employee with no recent travel history.
This marks the first case of “community transmission” of COVID-19 in the U.S.V.I. This confirms that there is person-to- person spread in our community and underscores the importance of social distancing.
“Although community spread now isn’t surprising, this new development marks a turning point in this pandemic, and we have to remain vigilant to the social distancing guidelines provided and all do our part to protect the most vulnerable of our population” said Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion.
“We urge our residents to stay safe and shelter in place as much as possible during this time of COVID-19 disease; this will help prevent the spread and protect our community,” the commissioner added.
“Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. Social distancing, according to the CDC, is "remaining out of congregrate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.”
VI Health officials said they have been closely monitoring the global outbreak and building capacity to prevent the spread of the disease in the territory and to respond to positive cases.
D.O.H. said its Epidemiology Division continues to conduct testing for cases that meet the Person Under Investigation (PUI) criteria, conduct contact tracing and assist healthcare providers and the public with up-to-date education as to what to do to prevent additional cases.