U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Governor Albert Bryan Jr. said Monday, during his weekly press conference, that the pilot phase for COVID testing at the territory’s airports began this weekend.
In June, the VI Department of Tourism created a portal where travelers can upload negative tests prior to travel into the territory. Since then, the VI Department of Health (DOH), working with the VI National Guard (VING), has also stepped up screening protocols at VI airport terminals. The added screening protocols include testing at the airports which is currently in its pilot phase.
This past weekend, DOH tested 34 incoming passengers – six at the Cyril E. King Airport and 29 at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport. As a result, the DOH identified and isolated a COVID positive traveler who was a local Virgin Islander returning to St. Croix.
“As we move forward into the holiday season, we will continue to monitor closely the efficacy of these increased protocols,” Governor Bryan said.
On Saturday, the moratorium was lifted on leisure travel bookings for hotels, guest houses, Airbnb’s and other related lodging businesses, as well as for guest check-in at these establishments.
“I know this step forward makes many in our community nervous and apprehensive,” Governor Bryan said. “But I want to assure you all that we are taking this step forward with the utmost care and caution and have taken the time since our last reopening to put in place added protocols to help protect our community.”
Governor Bryan also reminded the public that all travelers to the territory, including local Virgin Islanders returning home, are required to provide proof of a negative COVID test taken within five days prior to travel into the territory.
“I want to be clear this is all travelers into the territory,” Governor Bryan said. “It doesn’t matter where you are coming from.”
As of Monday, 64 active cases of COVID-19 in the territory:
- 19,314 individuals tested (up 960 from last week)
- 18,043 of those negative
- 1269 came back positive.
- 1,186 of those individuals who have tested positive since March have successfully recovered.
- There are no COVID-positive patients at the Juan Luis Hospital, but there are five COVID-positive patients in the Schneider Regional Medical Center.
As of Monday, the VI Department of Labor has issued:
- 38,894 unemployment insurance checks totaling $29,782,279 to VI residents impacted by COVID-19 related job-losses.
- an additional 29,260 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments totaling $41,588,760.
- $3,735,838 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and
- $1,263,700 in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
That means, to date, the Bryan-Roach Administration had issued a total of 68,372 unemployment benefit payments to Virgin Islands residents totaling $76,370,577, up $4.2 million since last week.