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Bryan Says First Winners Of ‘Vax To Win USVI’ Lottery To Be Announced July 16

CHRISTIANSTED — During the weekly Government House briefing today, Government House Communications Director Richard Motta expressed thoughts and prayers on behalf of Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and Lt. Governor Tregenza A. Roach to residents of the British Virgin Islands as they struggle through a surge of COVID-19 cases that are increasing at an alarming rate.

“I want to extend thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters in the British Virgin Islands on behalf of Governor Bryan and Lt. Governor Roach as they deal with a harrowing surge of COVID-19 infections,” Director Motta said. “Governor Bryan has been in contact with Premier Fahie and is looking at how the U.S. Virgin Islands can be of aid and assistance to them during this time.”

Virgin Islands Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion said she has been in contact with BVI Minister of Health Carvin Malone and they will continue their conversations as well.

Child Tax Credits

Director Motta said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is getting the necessary systems in place to begin the distribution of Child Tax Credits to Virgin Islanders eligible to receive them while it waits for the funds to be sent from the U.S. Treasury.

“The issuance of the Child Tax Credits is scheduled to start on July 15. The Bureau is in discussion with the Department of Treasury to determine the date of the release of those funds to the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Director Motta said.

In the meantime, BIR will host workshops for residents who have not yet filed their 2019 tax returns to ensure they receive the Child Tax Credit. The workshops will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 17, and residents are asked to bring documentation for the birth dates and Social Security information for their minor dependents.

Income Tax refunds

BIR and the Department of Finance are in the process of completing a mail-out of 3,724 income tax refunds totaling $10 million. Following the disbursement of $15 million in tax refunds two weeks ago this batch addresses most refunds for tax year 2018 and for those who have recently filed their 2016 and 2017 income taxes.

To date, the Bryan-Roach Administration has issued approximately $156.4 million of income tax refunds since Governor Albert Bryan Jr. took office in January 2019:

•           $29.2 in the Fiscal Year 2019 months the Bryan-Roach Administration was in office

•           $68.7 million in FY 2020

•           $56.4 million in FY 2021

Vax-to-Win lottery

The first of 10 drawings in each district in the Vax-to-Win lottery took place on Friday, July 9, and the winners will be announced on Monday, July 16.

“Two lucky vaccinated Virgin Islanders are just days away from collecting either a $100,000 or $50,000 prize as part of our Vax-to-Win drawing,”  Director Motta said. “As a reminder, there is still time to go out and get your vaccine to be eligible for our Vax-to-Win drawing and our school-based special drawing.”

Rules, prizes and other information about the lottery can be found at vaxtowinusvi.com, and the drawing is open only to Virgin Islands residents.

Once vaccinated, residents are automatically registered for the Vax-to-Win drawing, and any winners younger than 18 will have their prize held in escrow until their 18th birthday.

Residents who are eligible to enter the special drawing on August 9 that is open only to school-based professionals also can register at vaxtowinusvi.com or by calling 340-777-VACS (8227).

Digital Vaccination Records

Director Motta said an increasing number of Virgin Islanders are requesting their Digital Vaccine Record, which allows individuals to securely share their vaccination status while maintaining their privacy with a growing network of local organizations as the Territory moves closer to safely reopening businesses and allowing events, such as Carnival.

The Digital Vaccination Records can be carried as a wallet-sized card that also is storable on a smart phone.

To request your Digital Vaccination Records, go to covid19usvi.com/digitalpass.

Vaccinations administered

•           45,206 first doses (56.9% of eligible population)

•           37,466 persons fully vaccinated (47.2% 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 must 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 Parking Lot on St. Thomas on Tuesday, July 13, from 1 to 3 p.m.

•           Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix on Tuesday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to noon.

•           The V.I. Port Authority Gravel Yard on St. John on Wednesday, July 14, from 1 to 4 p.m.

•           Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix on Thursday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to noon.

•           Fort Christian Parking Lot on St. Thomas on Thursday, July 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Residents can pre-register for testing online at www.covid19usvi.com/testing and free vaccines are available at the pop-up testing sites.

COVID-19 cases as of July 10

•           3.53% positivity rate

•           Currently tracking 122 active cases (54 STX; 67 STT; 1 STJ).

•           134,079 individuals tested to date.

•           130,046 of those tests were negative.

•           4,033 tests came back positive.

•           3,879 have recovered.

•           32 fatalities.

•           Two COVID-19 patients are hospitalized at Juan F. Luis Medical Center on St. Croix.

•           Seven COVID-19 patients are at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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