A surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands, particularly St. Thomas, jumped higher this week as test results on Aug. 12 revealed 16 new cases at Queen Louise Home for the Aged on St. Thomas. This comes less than 24 hours after news of a large outbreak at the St. Thomas Jail.
Of 17 residents tested, 10 returned positive results; of 25 Queen Louise staff who were tested, 6 tested positive.
According to a release from Human Services, the agency’s leadership and staff, including the Queen Louise physician, Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control physicians and staff and Schneider Regional Medical Center are working to address the unfolding reality of the coronavirus and its spread into the facility. The residents who tested negative will reportedly be moved to” non-congregate sheltering” where they are more distant from each other to try to maintain their negative status and good health. Retesting will occur in accordance with guidance from the lead epidemiologist with the Department of Health.
The residents who tested positive are reportedly so far asymptomatic or displaying only mild symptoms. All are being closely monitored and treated by the multidisciplinary team. None of the residents have required hospitalization.
Staff who tested positive are in quarantine and only displaying mild symptoms thus far, and they have not required hospitalization. With the major increase in cases on St. Thomas and the reality that facility staff must move about in the community, the agency says it is maintaining strict mitigation policies and procedures while keeping a close eye on staff and residents.
The Knud Hansen Complex on St. Thomas remains closed as a precaution and for sanitization after one staff member tested positive at the administrative office complex. It will remain closed to the public through Friday, Aug. 14. The complex will reopen on Monday, Aug. 17.
- Meals on Wheels and Homemaker Services will continue to provide client services in the community while continuing to adhere to all safety protocols.
- Drop boxes will also remain open and available for application drop off.
For all Department of Human Services facilities, masks are required when entering all facilities and enhanced screening surveys and mandatory temperature checks continue. All staff and close contacts of affected units have been notified to ensure their safety within the parameters of federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guidelines. Staff testing is being encouraged and arranged for those in impacted units while professional cleaning and sanitization of impacted facilities are ongoing. No additional details are being released at this time in order to respect the residents, their families and remain in accordance with HIPAA laws.
If a person is experiencing any of the coronavirus symptoms listed on the Department of Health website (given below), self-quarantine and immediately contact the Department of Health:
o V.I. DOH website: https://doh.vi.gov/
o COVID-19 Hotline: 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519
For more information on COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus, visit the USVI Department of Health’s website at www.doh.vi.gov/coronavirus or text COVID19USVI to 888777. #COVID19USVI