The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. Virgin Islands has reached 22 with the announcement Saturday of three new cases, one of them the first recorded on St John, the Department of Health reported.
By island, the confirmed cases are 11 on St Croix, 10 on St. Thomas and one on St. John, the DOH report said.
According to the report, the latest St. Thomas cases were a traveler and an individual who had contact with a sick traveler. Since Friday’s announcement, the Department of Health received confirmation of three additional cases, including the first confirmed case on St. John.
All three new confirmed cases were either travelers or contacts of confirmed cases that have been in quarantine. None of the latest confirmed cases were community-acquired.
“Because most confirmed cases are travel-related, it is especially critical to self-quarantine after travel while monitoring your symptoms,” the Department of Health news release said.
“During this self-monitoring period, it is important to avoid close contact with others including those you may live with. Even for non-travelers, it is paramount to understand the risk of transmission among those you may have close contact with. Physical distancing is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission.”
Along with the 22 positive cases, the DOH said there have been 106 negative tests – 70 on STT, 32 on STX and 4 on STJ – and 55 still pending – 33 STT, 19 STX and 3 STJ.
The news release said that while the risk of severe illness for most, is low, the risk for transmission is high and precautions must still be taken to avoid widespread transmission within the community.
“A person may also get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes,” the statement said.
To avoid COVID-19 and help prevent its spread, Department of Health officials recommend the following steps:
– Limit socializing and close contact with others, as persons without symptoms can still transmit the virus.
– While sick, avoid contact with others.
– Avoid persons with cold or flu-like symptoms.
– Stay home if you are sick.
– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and discard the tissue. Wash your hands immediately. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
– Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
– Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.
COVID-19 symptoms reported include fever, cough and shortness of breath. It spreads mostly between people who are in close contact via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People who have contracted COVID-19 are most likely to spread it when they are most symptomatic. This means they are more likely to spread it to others when they are sick.
The department urged anyone experiencing symptoms such as a cough, fever and shortness of breath, and have traveled anywhere in the last 14 days, OR who have had contact with a confirmed case to self-quarantine and call 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
These phone numbers are only to be used if you meet the criteria above and suspect you may have the virus. You will be given instructions on what to do next and that may include isolating yourself from others.