STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
COVID UPDATE-CABINET DECISIONS
March 3, 2022
A pleasant good afternoon to everyone. I bring greetings to everyone here in the Virgin Islands, in the region and the world. It is safe to say that the people and the economy of the Virgin Islands have endured a series of challenges within recent years. Recovery from the floods of 2017, recovery from two hurricanes in 2017, re-negotiations of the 400 million dollar loan guarantee, 24 months of COVID-19 Global Pandemic, 14 months of the COI Commission of Inquiry exercise and now a war is waging between Russia and the Ukraine that is likely to challenge the economies of the world. Of this we know, God is able.
I am pleased on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands to bring you the decisions and some of the considerations that were made by Cabinet in today’s meeting of Wednesday 2, March 2002.
- Cabinet decided that the current crowd limits of 100 persons be removed and would be limited only to one person for every nine square feet.
- Cabinet decided that organizers of events in excess of 300 persons should notify the Environmental Health Division of the date, the time, and location of these events.
- Cabinet has decided that the quarantine requirements for un-vaccinated persons entering the Territory be moved from seven days to five days. These changes will come into force when gazetted and shall expire on the 31st March 2022.
In the interim, remaining would be requirements for masks, remaining will be the requirement to sanitze, washing your hands, proper hygiene, social distancing of 3 feet and all of the common sense approaches that has kept this Territory safe in the past two years.
The laboratory at the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital since the beginning of this pandemic has analyzed over 100 thousand samples. In this we had a positive number of 6091, recoveries to date 6006, we had unfortunate deaths of 62 persons who were deemed positive with COVID during this period.
The active cases amounts now to 23. We are down from the height of 1,300 to where we have active cases of 23. One person is hospitalized at this time. We have had all the supply of AstraZeneca and supplies of Pfizer needed from the United Kingdom. We also had an experience where United States Virgin Islands had allowed our citizens to come and be vaccinated in St. John. We thank the United Kingdom and the United States Virgin Islands Government for their kind donations.
We have now to date 17,459 persons that are deemed fully vaccinated, this is a rate of 58.2%. We also have the boosters that were recently made available and we have 3,652 persons who have taken advantage of this opportunity. This represents only a percentage of 12.2%. We are concerned that the vaccination rate for the boosters have not been as robust as it could be or maybe even should be. We have also made provisions for 500 doses of the pediatric vaccines that are now here in the Territory complements of the United Kingdom. These vaccines are available from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Catholic Community Centre. They are also available at the Nurse Iris O’Neal Clinic. They are available on registration or by appointment at all the clinics throughout the Territory. It is important to note that these have a shelf life up to March 31, 2022. So it is critical that we take advantage of the vaccines that are made available to us. We have Pfizer available for the pediatric doses, we have Pfizer available for first and second doses and we have Pfizer available for booster doses. We have to encourage our vulnerable persons, to continue to be vaccinated, those with chronic disease our elderly, my senior gems, those persons 5-11 can now take advantage of the pediatric doses. We must continue to encourage this.
We also invite primary schools with students from ages 5-11 to schedule a visit by our team. They will come to the schools. Get as many students that the parents allow to get vaccinated and they will come to you so that you won’t have to go down to any of the centres. We are also looking at ways to accommodate groups of persons on the sister islands.
It is critical that we continue to rebuild our economies. The hotels are beginning to fill up, the yacht charters are beginning to fill up. We have the cruise industry on the move. We have had a resurgence in terms of the some of the economics. This can be sustained if we continue to do what we need to do. We are clearly not out of the woods as yet, but we are close to the edge.
Ladies and gentlemen we have to be resilient in terms of what we are looking at. We have the festivals that are coming up, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and we have a number of activities that people have planned. We want to ensure that these are done in a safe and sustainable manner. So we will do whatever we need to do to make this work.
The CDC currently has us at a level four we want to move this to level one. In order to do this we have to sustain a low level of active cases. We know that we have different variants or a combination of variants out there. So we will be remaining vigilant in all that we do.
We will come back to you as circumstances dictate. We will like to wish everyone a pleasant Easter season, a pleasant Passover a pleasant time in terms on which we will continue to make the Virgin Islands and the economy resilient.
We are on our way back and we would like to thank you very much for all that you have done and all that you continue to do to keep the Virgin Islands safe. Thank you very much for tuning and listening and we will get back to you whenever the need arise.