Joint Statement by His Excellency the Governor Augustus Jaspert and
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone
on the COVID-19 Impact on Frontline Agencies
Sunday, August 30, 2020
As the public is aware, in the past weeks a few clusters of COVID-19 cases have been identified in the British Virgin Islands.
Between Friday 28th and Saturday 29th of August, 16 persons tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. This figure includes 4 of the 9 positive cases reported by the Minister for Health and Social Development on August 28th. Following the Minister’s last update, two additional persons were reported as positive on August 28th and 10 new positive results were reported on August 29th.
The total number of positive cases detected now stands at 47, with eight (8) recoveries and one (1) death, leaving 38 active COVID-19 cases in the Territory. Testing and contact tracing is on-going.
There is a likelihood of further transmission of COVID-19 in the Territory, and frontline workers have a heightened risk of exposure. Therefore, periodic testing of staff across health, police, and other frontline agencies is ongoing, and all measures are being implemented to reduce the exposure risk.
As a result of contact tracing, members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force are being screened for the virus that causes COVID-19, and a small number of officers have tested positive. These officers have been removed from service and will remain in isolation until fully recovered. All members of their households and other close contacts, including other police officers, are being quarantined and tested. Out of an abundance of caution, all remaining police officers are being given priority for COVID-19 testing.
In order to minimise risk, the East End/Long Look and the Road Town Stations will be temporarily closed for deep cleaning and disinfection. However, other police resources have been put in place to ensure adequate coverage to protect those communities, enforce the curfew and maintain general law and order.
To reduce the risk of transmission, members of the public who wish to access health or police services are asked to avoid going to these facilities in person unless there is an emergency. For all emergencies, dial 911. The 24-hour non-emergency number to contact the police is 311. As far as possible, persons must always call ahead before visiting any healthcare facility.
Persons who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, headache, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle aches or difficulty breathing are encouraged to contact the Medical Hotline at 852-7650 to schedule an appointment for testing rather than present at the hospital or any other facility.
As contact tracing continues, we are confident that, with your cooperation, we can bring this situation under control in a short time. As such, all persons in the Territory should remain vigilant; follow the health and safety measures, stay home and limit social interaction with anyone outside your household to reduce exposure. If you must go out to work or to access essential services, practice safety precautions when returning home in order to protect other members of your household, particularly those at higher risk of severe illness, such as seniors and persons with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems.
Once again, during this period of the current Curfew Order, persons are asked to remain at home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave and to be at home during the restricted hours of 5:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Your adherence to these measures and cooperation in the practice of handwashing, sanitisation, cough etiquette, wearing face masks, and physical distancing is critical in ensuring the safety of all members of the BVI community.