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St. Croix Hospital Says WhatsApp Message About Gas Refueling Causing COVID Is Fake

SUNNY ISLE — A WhatsApp message that stated “the hospital sent a message saying the Delta variant appears to be spreading rapidly through the refueling pump” and further states precautions should be taken while refueling gas — is false.

Based on credible news sources, it appears that this message first began circulating in WhatsApp, domestically and internationally, around March 2020, the Juan F. Luis Hospital said today.

This message was not circulated by the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center (JFL) or the Schneider Regional Medical Center and Hospital (SRMC), JFL spokeswoman Chivonne A.S. Thomas said.

“Please be wary and vigilant of WhatsApp messages that arise from a vague sources,” Thomas said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide in their Be Safer Getting Gas guide: “Eight ways to protect yourself while pumping gas:”

  • Use wipes to disinfect the handle.
  • Use wipes to disinfect the buttons.
  • Use hand sanitizer when done.
  • Rub the hand sanitizer all over your hands.
  • Rub your hands until they feel dry.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you can.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Sing the happy birthday song twice while washing your hands.

  • More tips on running errands safely can be found on the CDC’s website, at:

  • For more information on COVID-19, please visit the V.I. Department of Health’s website, or text COVID19USVI to 888777.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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