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Governor Bryan Announces $100K COVID-19 Vaccine Lottery for Local Residents

CHRISTIANSTED — During the Government House weekly press briefing today, Governor Albert Bryan said that he has instituted a $100,00 lottery to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

The Government of the Virgin Islands will give away $100,000 a week for 10 consecutive weeks beginning Tuesday, July 6, to Virgin Islands residents who are fully vaccinated.

Residents who already are vaccinated will automatically be entered into the drawing, and residents who are not vaccinated have enough time to become fully vaccinated prior to the first drawing.

The only requirement to enter the drawing is proof of residency.

Funding for Literacy

Bryan also said he has approved giving $1.5 million each to the St. Croix Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to be used for literacy and numeracy programs for Virgin Islands students during the summer and into the school year.

The funding is open to organizations that offer tutoring and other academic enrichment services. In the coming weeks, the foundations will be issuing guidelines to the organizations that wish to apply for the funding.

“It is our Administration’s belief that this is a necessary initiative for the enrichment of our students who have been outside of the traditional classroom setting during the pandemic, and I personally look forward to the launch of this program,” Governor Bryan said.

Legislation enabling 8% repayment 

Governor Bryan also announced that on Monday he sent proposed legislation to the 34th Legislature to supplement the Fiscal Year 2022 and FY 2023 Executive Budget proposals that would allow using Excise Tax collections from FY 2021 to repay the $38 million owed to public sector employees as a result of the VIESA Act, which reduced salaries by 8%.

Additionally, the Governor said the Bryan-Roach Administration continues to work with the 34th Legislature on ways to secure adequate funding for the Government Employees’ Retirement System (GERS).

“I continue to stress the importance of refinancing our bond debt not only because it is the prudent and fiscally responsible thing to do but because the current market climate presents a tremendous opportunity for us to refinance our debt and use the savings to fund pressing obligations, like the GERS,” Governor Bryan said. “And without any other measure presented within the seven months since our last refinancing proposal, now is time to take advantage of this opportunity.

“We have seen Puerto Rico and some of the other insular territories return to the bond market and take advantage of the current low interest climate, and we have seen them realize debt savings as a result. We don’t have time. Certainly not another seven months,” Governor Bryan said. 

Vaccinations administered

•           41,673 first doses

•           35,486 persons fully vaccinated

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 8, from 1 to 3 p.m.

•           Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix on Tuesday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to noon.

•           The V.I. Port Authority Gravel Yard on St. John on Wednesday, June 9, from 1 to 4 p.m.

•           Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix on Thursday, June 10, time from 10 a.m. to noon.

•           Lionel Roberts Stadium on St. Thomas on Thursday, June 10, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Residents can pre-register for testing online at www.covid19usvi.com/testing.

COVID-19 cases as of June 5

•           3.76% positivity rate

•           Currently tracking 126 active cases (8 STX; 111 STT; 7 STJ).

•           118,738 individuals tested to date.

•           115,147 of those tests were negative.

•           3,591 tests came back positive.

•           3,437 people have recovered.

•           28 deaths.

•           No COVID-19 patients are hospitalized at Juan F. Luis Medical Center on St. Croix.

•           Five COVID-19 patients, with one on a ventilator, currently are hospitalized at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.

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