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90 Percent of New COVID-19 Cases Are On St. Croix; 3 More Die Bringing Total To 78

CHRISTIANSTED — There have been three more COVID-19 deaths in the territory, bringing the death toll to 78, the Virgin Islands Department of Health reports.

The deceased are a 59-year-old woman, a 78-year-old man and a 39-year-old man, all on St. Croix, according to the VIDOH.

The average age of the USVI’s 78 COVID-19 victims is 67.7. The youngest victim was 22; and the oldest was 105.

Territorial Epidemiologist Esther Ellis said during a press conference Monday that the Juan F. Luis Hospital had six COVID-patients with one ventilated. On Thursday; however, the hospital reported only two patients with COVID, one of whom was on a ventilator.

A majority of U.S. Virgin Islands COVID-19 deaths have taken place in the past two months, long after several free, safe and effective vaccines against the illness became readily available throughout the territory.

The VIDOH has not reported whether the most recent person to die was vaccinated and the department does not release individual case information for privacy reasons.

To date, there has been only one report of a vaccinated Virgin Islander dying of the illness and Health Department officials have repeatedly said almost none of the Virgin Islanders hospitalized for the illness were unvaccinated. This means a majority of USVI COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations were preventable.

There are no confirmed reports of any Virgin Islander dying or suffering long-term effects from the various COVID-19 vaccines.

Before this latest tragedy, a 59-year-old St. Thomas woman and a 37-year-old St. Croix man were confirmed to have died of the disease on Oct.ober11, and a 78-year old St. Croix woman died a few days earlier.

According to Health Department data, community transmission and close contact account for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the territory. About 90 percent of new cases are on St. Croix, after hitting St. Thomas harder for most of the past year. The community is urged to continue following precautionary measures to slow the spread of the virus, including social distancing, wearing a mask when in the company of others outside of your household, cleaning frequently used areas thoroughly, and washing your hands often with soap and warm water.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can prevent severe illness and death, the department said. To schedule an appointment, call 340-777-8227 or visit covid19usvi.com/vaccines. Walk-ins are also accepted at the territory’s Community Vaccination Centers.

St. Croix’s Community Vaccination Center is at the Nissan Center in Estate La Grande Princesse, adjacent to the Honda Dealership and The Paint Shop, on the same side of the street as Food Town.

On St. Thomas, the Community Vaccination Center is at the Community Health Clinic on the second floor at the Schneider Regional Medical Center.

To report a suspected case of COVID-19, call 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. For more information, visit covid19usvi.com. For COVID 19 updates, 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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