St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (March 18, 2020)—The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health has received confirmation of its third confirmed case of COVID-19 disease. This brings the territory’s total confirmed cases to three—one in the St. Croix district and two in the St. Thomas/St. John district.
Health officials have been closely monitoring the global outbreak and building capacity to prevent the spread of the disease in the territory and to respond to positive cases.
The department’s Epidemiology Division continues to conduct testing for cases that meet the Person Under Investigation (PUI) criteria, conduct contact tracing and assist healthcare providers and the public with up-to-date education as to what to do to prevent additional cases.
While the risk of severe illness for most is low, precautions must still be taken to avoid transmission within the community. A person may also get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. said Wednesday that the confirmation of a third case in the territory comes as no surprise and underscores the need for residents in the community to continue following the Department of Health’s guidance.
“Unfortunately, we know that we will have more cases in the territory. We expect that at least two additional cases will be confirmed positive based on the proximity of those individuals to the territory’s first two cases.” Governor Bryan said.
To avoid COVID-19 and help prevent its spread, Department of Health officials recommend the following steps:
- Limit socializing and close contact with others, as persons without symptoms can still transmit the virus.
- While sick, avoid contact with others.
- Avoid persons with cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and discard the tissue. Wash your hands immediately. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends avoiding non-essential travel to any of the locations listed below as well as no cruise ship travel. Older adults and those with underlying health issues are particularly vulnerable and should avoid crowded places and non-essential air travel to decrease their risk for virus transmission.
COVID-19 symptoms reported include fever, cough and shortness of breath. It spreads mostly between people who are in close contact via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Persons who have contracted COVID-19 are most likely to spread it when they are most symptomatic. This means they are more likely to spread it to others when they are sick.
If you are experiencing symptoms like a cough, fever, and shortness of breath, and have traveled to China, Iran, South Korea, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom and Ireland or any of the following U.S. states (New York, California, or Washington state) in the last 14 days, please self-quarantine and call (340) 712-6299 or 340-776-1519 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
These areas have been identified as places with widespread person-to-person spread of COVID-19. These phone numbers are only to be used if you meet the criteria above and suspect you may have the virus. You will be given instructions on what to do next and that may include isolating yourself from others.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and let them know if you have been infected or you believe that you may be.
For more information, visit: doh.vi.gov/coronavirus or cdc.gov/covid19. For updates, text COVID19USVI to 888777.