Cluster-Related Incident Pushes COVID Positivity Rate Over 3 Percent

Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, seen in this April 13 screen capture, on Monday said a “cluster-related incident” pushed the territory’s COVID-19 positivity rate over 3 percent, highlighting the need for everyone to remain on guard against the pandemic. (File photo)

A cluster-related incident, followed by private functions and parties during the longer Carnival weekend, caused a spike of COVID-19 cases on St. Thomas, helping to bring the territory’s weekly positivity rate to 3.33 percent.

Speaking during Monday’s weekly Government House news briefing, Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion said the “cluster” was a church service, with the spread occurring among unvaccinated residents. Health’s epidemiology team responded “immediately” and tested at least half of the congregation, she said.

She added that the COVID-19 vaccine is readily available within the territory for residents 16 years old and older.

At the time of Monday’s news conference, the territory was tracking 94 active COVID-19 – 16 on St. Croix, 77 on St. Thomas and one on St. John.

“We all have to do our part,” Encarnacion said. “Wear your mask, avoid mass gatherings and stay home when sick.”

Encarnacion encouraged residents to “look at the trends” when choosing to not getting vaccinated or follow public health protocols, both of which pose risks to the community by increasing exposure to the virus and enabling it to spread.

As of Monday, 38,165 first doses of the vaccine have been administered territorywide, with 29,033 people fully vaccinated. According to Encarnacion, that puts the territory 11,835 first doses away from the government’s goal of having 50,000 residents vaccinated by July 1.