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Santa Left Omicron Under The Christmas Tree In The U.S. Virgin Islands This Holiday

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — As of Christmas Day, there were 544 active cases of COVID-19 in the territory, the Virgin Islands Department of Health said. It is the highest number of active cases since the start of the pandemic. 

There were 240 cases on St. Croix, 296 cases on St. Thomas and 8 cases on St. John. The 7-day positivity rate is the highest it has ever been: 11.6%, according to the VIDOH.

These numbers were posted by the V.I. Health Department to their Facebook page yesterday.

Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion said that the surge in COVID-19 cases is most likely due to the Omicron variant.

“Based on the high numbers that we’re seeing, it is highly likely, it is a high probability that our numbers are high because we have Omicron in the territory,” she said.

As a result of the drastic spike in COVID-19 cases, Schneider Regional Medical Center is restricting all in-person visits and allowing only virtual visits. 

The hospital made the announcement in a press release on Friday,

“Based on the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases on St. Thomas, Schneider Regional Medical Center will immediately restrict visitation to virtual visits only to protect its vulnerable patients and its staff, who are working tirelessly to provide 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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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