CHRISTIANSTED — During the weekly press briefing on Monday, Government House Communications Director Richard Motta said that the governor has expanded his vaccination incentive lottery program by adding a drawing for school-based personnel in public, private and parochial schools.
In addition to the general vaccination drawing for $100,000 for 10 weeks open to all residents, the Government of the Virgin Islands will also sponsor a drawing limited to employees who work in the territory’s Education system and will feature three cash prizes in each district: $25,000 for 1st place; $10,00 for 2nd place and $5,000 for 3rd place.
The special drawing will take place on August 9 and is open to all school-based personnel who have a work station in one of the territory’s schools — including principals, teachers, guidance counselors, cafeteria workers and school monitors — as well as all school bus drivers.
Motta said the additional drawing is in preparation for the 2021-2022 school year to be 100 percent in-class education.
“We continue to encourage every eligible member of our community to go out and get vaccinated, which is truly our best shot at beating the virus,” Motta said. “In order to preserve the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students and to ensure that our school year gets off to the right start we are encouraging them to become fully vaccinated before the reopening of schools.”
Unlike the previously announced weekly general drawing, school personnel who want to participate must register so the Virgin Islands Department of Health can verify eligibility. Registration details will be announced in the upcoming days.
Additionally, as part of this back-to-school effort, the government will also be providing additional incentives for minors who get vaccinated prior to the start of the school year and details for that program also will be announced.
“Again, this opportunity for the special drawing is extended to those who have already been vaccinated and all eligible individuals who become fully vaccinated before the drawing date,” Motta said.
But skepticism abounded on social media about the new “special lottery drawing” just for Education Department employees.
“So is this one different to the first one that was announced first because right now I’m hearing about that one been rigged for family members to win,” Sandra Lee said on Facebook.
“Is that like the special lottery that plays every two weeks?” Helen Baker asked on Facebook.
USVI 2021 Technology Summit
University of the Virgin Islands President David Hall and William Adams of Microsoft provided information about this week’s USVI 2021 Technology Summit, which is a five-day event to help shape the future of technology and access to technology in the territory.
“As you are aware, Governor Bryan has led the charge to digitize the government and improve the efficiency of government services through the use of technology. We are glad that Microsoft and UVI have partnered with the governor in this endeavor and are happy to host this important 5-day summit,” Motta said.
Hall said UVI will use the former West Bay supermarket on St. Thomas, which UVI has acquired, to create an Innovation Center where UVI students can get firsthand experience using technology. A similar facility also is planned for UVI’s St. Croix campus.
“The focus of the Tech Summit is to benefit from the insight, power and years of experience of the leading technology company in the nation, Microsoft, and to use that resource as a way to improve governmental processes,” Hall said. “Throughout the week, we will be hearing from the leaders of various agencies about the challenges that they face and how, through technology, those challenges can be addressed.”
• 42,463 first doses (53.5% of the eligible population)
• 34,290 persons fully vaccinated (43.2% of eligible population)
Anyone 12 and up is eligible to receive the vaccine. Please make sure to have a parent or guardian accompany any minor wishing to get vaccinated, and bring an ID for both the minor and the parent or guardian.
Anyone who thinks they may have contracted COVID-19 can call the Epidemiology hotline at 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519. For more information, visit covid19usvi.com.
For information about the COVID-19 vaccines, call the VITEMA hotline Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 340-777-VACS (8227).
Pop-Up testing sites
This week, pop-up testing sites will be at the following locations:
• Home Depot on St. Thomas on Tuesday, June 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.
• Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix on Tuesday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to noon.
• The V.I. Port Authority Gravel Yard on St. John on Wednesday, June 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.
• Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix on Thursday, June 17, time from 10 a.m. to noon.
• Fort Christian Parking Lot on St. Thomas on Thursday, June 17, from 1 to 3 p.m.
The Department of Health also will be giving free vaccinations at the Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and Thursday.
Residents can pre-register for testing online at www.covid19usvi.com/testing.
COVID-19 cases as of June 12
• 3.09% positivity rate
• Currently tracking 109 active cases (15 STX; 93 STT; 1 STJ).
• 122,362 individuals tested to date.
• 118,660 of those tests were negative.
• 3,702 tests came back positive.
• 29 deaths.
• One COVID-19 patient is hospitalized at Juan F. Luis Medical Center on St. Croix.
• Eight COVID-19 patients, with two patients critically ill with one on a ventilator, currently are hospitalized at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.