Steps You Can Take To Keep The COVID-19 Virus From Infecting You: VIDOH
CHRISTIANSTED — The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health has received confirmation of three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease.
This brings the territory’s total confirmed cases to six—two in the St. Croix district and four in the St. Thomas/ St. John district.
The latest St. Croix confirmed case was a resident who recently returned home and was self-quarantined at home and has recovered.
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,” the VIDOH said.
Meanwhile, concerned citizens and senators were urging Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. to take more aggressive action against the COVID-19 virus.
“Please help us governor,” Harith Wickrema said on St. Thomas. “Can we check temperature at the airport? Lets take two weeks off and stay in. We do not have sufficient health care facilities to take care of residents. How are we going to handle tourists? Countries that shut down for two to four weeks are bouncing back. Please take action NOW!”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “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.”
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.”
Persons Under Investigation Update (74 CUMULATIVE TOTAL):
• Positive: 6 (2 STX; 4 STT) • Negative: 25 (11 STX; 11 STT; 2 STJ)
• Pending: 43 (15 STX; 28 STT)
“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” Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion said. “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.”
Health officials 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.
The department’s 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.
While the risk of severe illness for most is low, the risk for transmission is not and precautions must still be taken to avoid spread within the community.
A person may also get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
To avoid COVID-19 and help prevent its spread, Department of Health officials recommend the following steps:
• Limit socializing and close contact with others, as persons without symptoms can still transmit the virus.
• While sick, avoid contact with others. • Avoid persons with cold or flu-like symptoms.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and discard the tissue. Wash your hands immediately. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.