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‘Contaminated’ Juan F. Luis Hospital Makes Healthy People Sick With COVID-19

CHRISTIANSTED — St. Thomas gets four times as many tourists from the U.S. mainland as St. Croix.

So you’d expect to see more hospitalizations in Charlotte Amalie than in Diamond Ruby, but that is not the case.

In his weekly press briefing this afternoon, Governor Albert Bryan said fully 23 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 on St. Croix, while only six are at the Schneider Hospital in St. Thomas with coronavirus.

The reason? Bryan said there was “cross-contamination” at Juan F. Luis Hospital, so some people went in to the Sunny Isle-area medical center healthy, and left ill and contagious with a killer disease.

“The 23 in St. Croix is an aberration, because unfortunately, there was cross-contamination at the hospital — where patients went to the hospital COVID-free and ended up with COVID,” Governor Bryan said. “They’re doing right now some mitigation efforts to be able to separate out patients and make sure we control anything that is going on”

The governor added that the hospital will issue a full statement about the contamination incidents sometime today, but right now staff and workers of the hospital are trying to sanitize the areas that are affected.

Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. speaking at the press conference this afternoon.

Due to increased COVID-19 exposures, a surge in positive patients internal to JFL and the presence of the Delta variant in the territory, the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center (“JFL”) has taken several steps to manage the surge in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including, but not limited to:

 Continuing our No Visitation policy
 Strongly encouraging the vaccination of all JFL employees and patients.
 Increasing the frequency of screening for COVID-19 for all employees.
 Increasing the frequency of screening for COVID-19 for all patients.
 Enforcement of 100% personal protective equipment (PPE), the JFL mask
policy, and excellent hand hygiene compliance
 Enacting a temporary, 2-week hold on elective surgical procedures as we
manage the surge.
 Increasing our inpatient bed capacity
 Recruiting and onboarding critical, clinical support staff
 Encouraging the use of the Monoclonal antibody treatment for persons in the
community that meet the criteria for this treatment through the Virgin
Islands Department of Health.
 Continued collaboration with the Bryan Roach Administration and the Virgin
Islands Department of Health to ensure that we have availed ourselves of all
resources available to manage this surge.
According to Interim CEO Dyma Williams, “At JFL, we continue to manage the
current surge in COVID-19 hospitalization internal to JFL. COVID-19 has
drastically changed the provision of patient care. Despite these dynamic changes,
we are steadfast in our goal to provide compassionate care for every patient and
their family during this global pandemic. We will continue to keep you informed,
safe, and healthy, while ensuring quality patient care.”

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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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