Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DoH said the Omicron BA.2 variant spreads more quickly than earlier variants, including the Delta variant. "CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection, regardless of vaccination status or whether or not they have symptoms, can spread the virus to others," DoH said.
According to the health department's latest COVID-19 data, there were 244 active infections territory-wide as of Friday, April 22, 2022: 124 on St Thomas, 115 on St Croix, and 5 on St John.
"Virgin Islands data shows we are presently experiencing higher than expected cases and that is the reason DoH is emphasizing adherence to the safety practices," the health department said. "We currently have 244 active COVID-19 cases. Our positivity rate is 5.62% and we have three COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized at the Schneider Regional Medical Center."
The increase in infections comes as the USVI is preparing for its first carnival in two years, with thousands expected to be in attendance.
The health department urged individuals to take responsibility for their personal health as well as the well-being of their loved ones. "If you are high risk or you are close to someone who is considered high risk for COVID-19, do not attend crowded events," the department said.
High-risk individuals are at greater risk of severe COVID illness.