COVID-19 is yet again on the rise in the United States Virgin Islands, with the USVI Department of Health reporting 20 new cases on Friday, December 4, 2020, for a total of 70 cases in three days, according to data provided by the health department.
The current active caseload is 97: 42 on St. Thomas, 31 on St. Croix and 24 on St. John with results from 98 tests were pending as of Friday.
The growth in cases was predicted for the cold months, and with infections surging to new heights in the U.S., the territory was bound to be impacted. According to D.O.H.'s Friday data, at least five of the latest cases were transmitted through community spread, nine through close contact and four were travel-related. At least six cases were under investigation.
On the U.S. mainland, data from Johns Hopkins University showed a record number of infections on Friday of 217,664, up from the 200,055 cases on Wednesday and well past the 205,557-record set a week ago.
Hospitalizations topped 100,667 people in the U.S. admitted as of Thursday, according to data provided by the COVID
-19 Tracking Project. The hospitalizations are yet another record in a seemingly losing battle to contain the deadly pathogen. Of the 100,667 hospitalizations, a record 19,442 people were in intensive care.
Reported deaths climbed to 2,879 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University, another record from Wednesday's 2,804 fatalities.
The USVI has seen 23 Covid
-19-related deaths to date: 15 on St. Thomas, 7 on St. Croix and one on St. John, according to D.O.H. As of Monday, one Covid
-19 patient was hospitalized and on a ventilator at the Juan F. Luis Hospital, and one patient was hospitalized at the Schneider Regional Medical Center.
Governor Albert Bryan Jr, in a proactive attempt to diminish the potential for yet another surge of Covid
-19 cases in the USVI, implemented a two-week "soft shutdown" of government operations. "We have to keep up our guard in order to survive this holiday season with no lockdowns," said Mr Bryan during a Covid
-19 press briefing on November 24.
As part of the effort, the governor directed all agency heads within the executive branch to reduce in-person work as much as possible for two weeks. The governor also recommended employees be given time off, or work on staggered schedules. And he urged all private employers to do the same.
The governor issued a moratorium on all permits given for large events. "We have to control the virus as much as possible," he said.
Mr Bryan stated that there were some exceptions made for some sporting events such as flag football. However, from Nov. 24 and forward, there will be no special arrangements made for anyone throughout the holiday season.
Anything that attracts a large group of people in a public space, including sports tournaments and food sales, are all discontinued until further notice, the governor said. "There will be no exceptions to this because this is not a time to be out." In lieu of the in-person events, Mr Bryan encouraged virtually affairs.