U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS —After proactively engaging with the Department of Health to test all staff and residents at both Department of Human Services Homes (DHS) for the Aged facilities in St. Croix and St. Thomas, DHS is now working with the Department of Health on a growing number of positive results in St. Thomas. Test results on August 12, 2020, revealed several Queen Louise staff and residents returned positive. Of 17 residents tested, 10 returned positive results, and of 25 Queen Louise staff tested, 6 tested positive.
Department of Human Services leadership and staff, including the Queen Louise physician, Department of Health and CDC physicians and staff and the Schneider Regional Medical Center are working collaboratively to address the unfolding reality of the coronavirus and its spread into the facility. The residents who tested negative will be relocated to non-congregate sheltering to try to maintain their negative status and good health. Re-testing will occur in accordance with guidance from the lead Epidemiologist with Department of Health.
The residents who tested positive are thus far asymptomatic or displaying only mild symptoms. All are being closely monitored and treated by the multi-disciplinary team. None of the residents have required hospitalization.
Staff who tested positive are in quarantine and only displaying mild symptoms thus far and have not required hospitalization. With the major increase in cases in St. Thomas and the reality that facility staff must move about in the community, DHS is maintaining strict mitigation policies and procedures, while keeping a close eye on staff and residents. The collaborative approach with the DOH is proving critical as the departments leverage knowledge and resources to address the reality of the pandemic in the USVI.
The Knud Hansen Complex in St. Thomas remains closed, in an abundance of caution and for sanitization after one staff member tested positive at the administrative office complex. It will remain closed to the public through Friday, August 14, 2020. The Complex will re-open on Monday, August 17, 2020.
- Meals on Wheels and Homemaker Services will continue to provide client services in the community while continuing to adhere to all safety protocols.
- Drop boxes will also remain open and available for application drop off.
For all Department of Human Services facilities, masks are required when entering all facilities and enhanced screening surveys and mandatory temperature checks continue. All staff and close contacts of affected units have been notified to ensure their safety within the parameters of HIPAA guidelines. Additionally, DHS is working to provide support for staff members. Staff testing is being encouraged and arranged for those in impacted units while professional cleaning and sanitization of impacted facilities is on-going. No additional details are being released at this time in order respect the residents, their families and remain in accordance to HIPAA laws.
The Department of Human Services requests prayers for all their staff, on the front lines, daily caring for members of the public.
For general information, please visit the Department of Human Services website, www.dhs.gov.vi or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/usvidhs) at US Virgin Islands Department of Human Services. If you are experiencing any of the coronavirus symptoms listed on the Department of Health website (listed below), self-quarantine and immediately contact the Department of Health:
- V.I. DOH website: https://doh.vi.gov/
- COVID-19 Hotline: (340) 712-6299 or (340) 776-1519
For more information on Covid19, the new strain of coronavirus, please visit the USVI Department of Health’s website, www.doh.vi.gov/coronavirus or text COVID19USVI to 888777. #COVID19USVI
The Department of Human Services (VIDHS) exists to provide social services to members in our community with diverse needs. In times of national uncertainty and hardship we act as a safetynet and exist to inspire hope and empower change through non-judgmental, quality delivery of needed services and resources. Please visit the Department of Human Services website, www.dhs.gov.vi for more information.