Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. introduced Thursday that, efficient Jan. 18, no traveler is allowed into the territory with out presenting a unfavourable COVID take a look at previous to departure. (Screenshot)
To maintain COVID numbers down over the vacation season, Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. mentioned Thursday that as an additional precaution, no traveler is allowed into the territory and not using a unfavourable COVID-19 take a look at efficient Monday, Jan. 18.
Throughout his final press convention of 2020, Bryan mentioned the territory’s COVID positivity charge is at four p.c, one proportion level under the nationwide common for “low positivity.” Over the previous week, 2,324 residents have been examined, with 98 of these people testing optimistic.
“We’re virtually out of 2020 and hopefully 2021 will probably be a a lot brighter yr,” Bryan mentioned. In response to the numbers as of Monday’s press convention, the Division of Well being is monitoring 124 lively circumstances, with 36 p.c of the inhabitants, or 36,241 residents, examined total. Of that quantity, 34,139 have examined unfavourable, 2,031 have examined optimistic and 1,884 have recovered. At this level, there are two COVID-positive sufferers on the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix, and none at Schneider Regional on St. Thomas.
“We’ve been transferring alongside and doing effectively in stomping out these surges which have been popping up,” he mentioned, including that the federal government’s means to conduct upwards of 500 assessments every day have helped to determine optimistic circumstances shortly and get them into isolation, whereas residents have accomplished their half in quarantining whereas sick.
As native bars and nightclubs stay closed till Jan. eight, Bryan mentioned requiring vacationers to current a unfavourable COVID take a look at inside 5 days of departure to the territory may even assist maintain the numbers low.
“We need to be sure we work with the airways to implement this,” he mentioned. “Nobody will be capable of examine in or get a boarding cross except they show a unfavourable COVID take a look at inside 5 days of departure. We would like to have the ability to maintain everybody secure, and after we’re capable of cut back the variety of folks coming in with the virus, then we will probably be in good condition.”
Looking forward to the brand new yr, Bryan provided a balanced outlook for the following few months, saying that the brand new COVID reduction invoice handed by Congress will assist residents and small companies which have been impacted by the pandemic by way of new stimulus checks, unemployment advantages and rental help. With often busy retail areas similar to Important Road on St. Thomas quieted by low tourism numbers, Bryan mentioned the federal government is making an attempt to supply as a lot help as potential, together with, as soon as cash turns into accessible, potential subsidies for electrical payments. The V.I. Water and Energy Authority will start disconnecting prospects with excellent funds Jan. 7, he mentioned.
“The pandemic modified the way in which we reside, our cultural actions, our schooling system, our household lives and our financial outlook for the foreseeable future,” he mentioned. “I don’t know many individuals who haven’t been affected not directly by a COVID optimistic, or a demise.”
Nonetheless, there may be hope, he added. To date, greater than 870 residents have acquired the COVID-19 vaccine, placing the territory forward of most states. As a brand new pressure of the virus has emerged, the world is likely to be in a “holding sample” for one more 9 months or in order distribution of the vaccine ramps up, however Bryan mentioned that one lesson discovered is that the U.S. Virgin Islands has blazed a path.
“We’ve led the Caribbean and the nation in straddling the road between well being and financial welfare,” he mentioned, including that native lodges are at the moment booked, and a degree of tourism has been maintained with out “us having to close our borders down fully eternally.”
“So many useful classes have been discovered alongside the way in which,” he mentioned. “This expertise taught a nation that was constructed on capitalism and profit that the well being and well-being of its residents is a very powerful factor above all else.”