Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Marlon Penn has announced that protocols are being relaxed including legal mask mandates commencing June 15.
According to Honourable Penn, protocols will be relaxed for travelers needing to register on the entry portal and the requirement for PCR testing for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated persons prior to entry.
Honourable Penn said the Ministry will no longer be issuing quarantine and isolation orders to persons who test positive for COVID-19.
He said persons tested positive for COVID-19 by Rapid Antigen test of rt-PCR should:
- Self-isolate for a period of 7 days and may end their isolation at Day 7 if they test negative by Rapid Antigen test, or after ten days with no test once they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours;
- At the end of their isolation, contact their medical provider to provide a recovery letter to return to work or school, depending on the policy of their employer or school;
- Contact their healthcare provider, if their symptoms are concerning them, to determine if they may be eligible for antiviral or other treatment;
- Wear a well-fitted mask for a period of 14 days and avoid contact with vulnerable persons during this time;
- Contact their medical provider if they require sick leave or social security certificates to cover their absence from work or school.
Persons who test positive for COVID-19 should also be aware that they may continue to test positive for up to 90 days by rt-PCR and that in some cases even rapid tests may be persistently positive. Repeat testing after recovery, or to return to work is not required and can be misleading. A letter of recovery from a medical provider is sufficient for these purposes.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone for 15 minutes or more and that person has tested positive for COVID-19 should:
- Wear a well-fitted mask for a period of 14 days when around others and especially when around vulnerable persons;
- Make arrangements to have a Rapid Antigen test or rt-PCR test at Day 5 to 7 after exposure to a positive case or at any time if they develop symptoms;
- Be aware that home test kits are available for purchase at stores locally, and testing is available in both the public and private sector throughout the Territory as the Ministry will no longer be making arrangements for routine free COVID-19 screening.
The Ministry of Health is also reminding the public that businesses, establishments and the Public Service, may continue to implement their own mask wearing policies based on their own assessment of risk.
The public is further reminded that COVID-19 continues to be present and that persons should take necessary precautions including self-testing and self-isolation if they think they may have become infected, or exposed to the disease. Everyone is also reminded to wash their hands regularly, wear face masks when necessary, and be mindful of the risk of their surroundings.
The Government of the Virgin Islands is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands