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As Delta Strain Runs Rampant In The USVI, Roach Orders Beaches Closed At 4 p.m.

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — As active COVID-19 cases continue increasing among unvaccinated Virgin Islanders in the Territory, Acting Governor Tregenza A. Roach, Esq. issued an executive order modifying a number of restrictions in place in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.

Among the changes in Acting Governor Roach’s new executive order, which go into effect on Friday, August
13:

• Beaches will go back to closing at 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays
• The limit on mass gatherings is reduced from 100 persons to a maximum of 50 persons and the Virgin Islands Department of Health may approve events up to 100 persons if they are all vaccinated. (ALL gatherings or events of less than 50 persons still need approval from the Department of Health.)
• The Positive Antibody test will no longer be an option for the travel portal, and persons arriving to the Territory will need to show proof of vaccination received in the USVI or provide a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 5 days of their date of travel.

(NOTE: Travelers arriving from the British Virgin Islands are required to present test results taken within two days of their arrival.)

“The best and fastest way to stifle this current outbreak affecting unvaccinated Virgin Islanders is for all the residents of the Territory to get vaccinated, but I will do whatever it takes, within the confines of the law, to protect the health and well-being of the Virgin Islands public,” Governor Albert Bryan repeated.

Acting Governor Roach also said that virtual learning will remain in effect in the schools until at least September 7, and that he is considering further measures, such as paring down the number of Government of the Virgin Islands offices that will remain open and mandating automatic one-month closure of establishments found to be non-compliant with COVID-protocols.

As of today, the Virgin Islands Health Department is tracking more than 325 active cases of COVID-19 in the Territory; there have been 40 fatalities attributed to the virus; and 29 people currently are hospitalized for COVID, with 4 of 18 patients on a ventilator at Luis Hospital on St. Croix and 4 of 11 patients on a ventilator at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.

“While much of the current outbreak is being attributed to the Delta variant, the large number of residents who will not get vaccinated increases the possibility of the virus continuing to mutate, possibly into even more lethal variants,” ‘ Governor Bryan said. “As the data clearly shows, both here and across the United States, this second wave of infections and deaths is almost exclusively affecting people who aren’t vaccinated and the only way to stop this rampant spread of COVID is for those people to take the vaccine.”

Meanwhile, people on social media complained that the government doesn’t recognize residents who have been vaccinated outside of the territory.

“So as a USVI resident fully vaccinated I have be tested to comeback home because my vaccine wasn’t conducted in the USVI. I thought you guys setup the Poloris (sic) Key for vaccinated people to upload their information…because I find it ridiculous that I would be they only one in my household having to test prior to traveling back home because I didn’t vaccinate locally,” Candi Kane said on Facebook.

“I’m in the same boat. I’ve entered my info into the Polaris Key. I got notice it was received but nothing since. The Polaris Key site allows entry for location of shot, lot number, etc. I don’t understand why USVI won’t accept proof from another location,” Joan Magras Wilson replied to Candi Kane.

“Exactly all the cards are the same, verify it and move on. It makes me wonder did the V.I. receive a special batch because it’s the same company, Pfizer, Moderna or J&J that only USVI administered shots are accepted,” Candi Kane replied to Joan Magras Wilson.

Lt. Governor Tregenza Roach

A copy of Acting Governor Roach’s 27th Supplemental Executive Order, as well as all executive orders since the State of Emergency went into effect in March 2020, is available at the Government House website at
http://www.vi.gov/executive-orders/

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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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