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Health Department Urges All To Mind COVID-19 Safety Protocols Heading Into Carnival

CHRISTIANSTED — During today’s weekly Government House briefing, Territorial Epidemiologist Dr. Esther Ellis said the number of active cases of COVID-19 in the territory has remained higher that health officials had hoped, and she urged residents to take precautions against spreading the virus as Carnival season begins.

“As we embark on Carnival on St. Thomas, it is imperative that each of us do what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Dr. Ellis said. “Please follow the recommended guidelines on hand-washing and social distancing, especially with persons with whom you do not reside.

Health Department Urges All To Mind COVID-19 Safety Protocols Heading Into Carnival

“As far as mask-wearing is concerned, we know that masks are not mandated, but please consider your own health and safety. Wear a mask, especially when you are in large crowds,” Dr. Ellis said.

During Carnival, the Department of Health will have a van and a tent at the Carnival Village and will provide COVID-19 vaccines, as well as COVID-19, HIV and STD testing, each night from 7 to 10 p.m.

Additionally, anyone who becomes fully vaccinated through April 30, whether at the clinics or at the Village or Food Fair, will receive the $250 incentive gift card.

COVID-19 cases as of April 18

•           5.67% seven-day positivity rate

•           Currently tracking 135 active cases (70 STX; 61 STT; 4 STJ)

•           356,416 tests have been administered

•           15,928 people have tested positive

•           68,679 first doses of vaccine have been administered

•           56,578 second doses of vaccine have been administered

•           There are no COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Luis Hospital on St. Croix or at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas. 

Health Department Urges All To Mind COVID-19 Safety Protocols Heading Into Carnival

Free Vaccinations

Free vaccinations are available in both districts at the Community Vaccination Centers at the Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix and at Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas:

Pediatric vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 on St. Thomas are available by appointment from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays at the Maternal Child Health Center at Schneider Hospital. Call 340-777-8227 to make an appointment. Please bring IDs for the child and parent or guardian, as well as a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Pop-Up Vaccinations

On St. John, vaccinations will remain available for all age groups from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at the V.I. Port Authority gravel parking lot.

Testing on St. John also is available from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays at the V.I. Port Authority gravel lot.

More COVID-19 information

The hours for the Department of Health hotlines will change beginning March 2 to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Anyone who thinks they may have contracted COVID-19 can call the Epidemiology hotline at 340-712-6299 (STX) or 340-776-1519 (STT-STJ). For more information, visit covid19usvi.com.

For information about the COVID-19 vaccines or to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated, call the VITEMA hotline Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 340-777-VACS (8227).

Vaccination appointments also can be scheduled online at covid19usvi.com/vaccines. The Department of Health will bring the COVID-19 vaccine to children and adults who are homebound.

The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov

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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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