In a video address to update residents on the Government of the Virgin Islands’ response to the COVID-19 virus, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. said materials to test for Coronavirus have arrived in the Territory, which now has the capability of doing tests locally and getting results back much more quickly than waiting for a response from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have begun testing in the Territory. Our lab is up and fully functional at this point, and we’re able to get results now in 24 hours or less,” Governor Bryan said. “We have received extra media, and extra 500 tests, which is allowing us to test people at a more rapid rate.”
The Governor said health officials currently can test for 30 cases a day.
The Governor reported that out of 201 suspected cases of COVID-19 that are being tested, the total number of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 remains at 30 and 130 cases have come back negative for the virus and 41 cases are pending test results.
Governor Bryan also said the Territory has received another shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE), and more equipment is expected to continue arriving as the weeks go by.
The Governor also urged people to avoid going to the beaches and said officials continue to get reports that people are still not heeding social distancing guidelines.
“We realize that people coming to the islands have really no way of knowing what kind of information is out there, so we’re going to use a series of sound trucks to try to get out the word,” Governor Bryan said.
On Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers did a review of both hospital sites, and the Governor said his Administration is making arrangements and doing assessments to decide what type of additional hospital resources still are needed.
“We’re happy to report now that both hospitals are in good shape, and we have no Coronavirus victims documented positive in the hospital receiving care at this time,” Governor Bryan said. “We have ample protective equipment at this time, up to the point that we will be distributing some more of that out to our police officers and to our first responders.”
The Governor said he met with officials at Limetree to assure that they are taking every single precaution in letting people into the refinery and identifying and screening them.
“There are no more shipments of people coming into the Territory for that project until further notice,” Governor Bryan said. “And anyone who comes back from vacation or working in there is subject to a 14-day quarantine.”
The Governor also said he wants residents to start thinking about the long Easter holiday coming up and be prepared ahead of time so they don’t have to go out at all during that time.
“We’re really looking at how we do that in a way that would allow people to stay at home, maybe even have a couple of days where no one goes out at all,” Governor Bryan said.
The Administration also is considering measures that would allow beauticians and barbers to be able to go out on an appointment basis only.
“As we look at the April 30 deadline, it’s going to be a long time that we’re going to be locked in,” Governor Bryan said. “We haven’t made any decision as yet, but by Friday. We’ll have a firm decision as to whether we’re going to allow personal grooming professionals to conduct business on a limited basis.”
For Governor Bryan’s video address, click here.
The Governor’s next update on the COVID-19 virus is scheduled tentatively for Friday.