July 8th COVID Update: Another Surge in Testing Results…….

There has been a surge in COVID testing on St Croix, St Thomas, and St John.

Unfortunately St Croix continues to see positive tests, and to a lesser extent St Thomas.

  • Over the last two weeks St Croix has gone from a total of 37 positive tests on June 28th, to 71 positive tests on July 7th.
  • Over the same time period, St Thomas has gone from a total of 40 positive tests to a total of 47 positive tests.
  • Very good news on St John.  St John had ZERO positive tests in that same time period.

This isn’t necessarily a result of limited testing.  We had 10 negative tests in a single day, and 26 negative tests of the time period in question.

(an additional negative test was reported on July 7th)

So despite the Governor opening up the doors to travel, and surges of positive tests on the other islands, we have done a good job in preventing infection and spread of the virus.

That doesn’t mean we should let our guard down.  We will have positive tests again in the future.

But if we continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing, we can continue to do better than other areas of the country.

New Review Feature Launched, Starting with Lovango Rum Bar and Just Fish Charters

“Yum, yum, yummm”

“The best pizza on island”

“The best pizza, period.”

Lovango Rum Bar has been open for roughly a month and the reviews have been fantastic.  People love the amazing Neapolitan pizza paired with a craft cocktail or flight of rum and a spectacular Cruz Bay sunset.  But how would the business know how they’re doing without your reviews?

The News of St John is adding a new “review” feature so that YOU can review and rate St John businesses after trying their products!

Lovango Rum Bar is helping to launch the new News of St John review service by adding 20 additional gift certificates to the StJohn.Deals marketplace.  Have you heard about StJohn.Deals?  Well, its a new site that allows you to purchase activitity, dining, shopping and lodging vouchers at a discount before you visit!  Lovango Rum Bar vouchers are available in limited quantity and when you buy one for $80, you get $100 to spend on dinner and drinks!

Please take a moment to read the previous Lovango Rum Bar spotlight.  If you have already checked out the place, then please leave a review at the bottom of the article (screenshot shown below, use links to participate).

If you haven’t yet been, there then feel free to buy a gift certificate and leave a review afterwards.

We have tested the review feature on the Just Fish charter and will be adding review functionality to more business spotlights regularly.  Check out this new feature and, if you have used Just Fish, please review them!

Governor Clarifies (lack of) Travel Policy

The Governor has done an excellent job keeping the virus off of the island of St John.  There have been only 4 positive tests to date.

However, his office issued a clarification to his statements at the press conference yesterday.  It turns out there is NOT yet a policy regarding limiting travel from certain states.  There is no need to cancel your flights yet.  That said, usually when he mentions that something could be coming in the future, it eventually does.  So we should keep a close eye on his weekly statements.

 

COVID 4th of July Weekend Update

We have been lucky.  The reality is that St John still has only four positive COVID tests in total, and hasn’t had any in more than two weeks.  The last positive test was on June 17th, and there have been 70 negative test since that date.

 

This is truly remarkable, especially considering the surge that is happening in hot spots across the country.  Many people on the island were concerned in mid-June about whether the virus would come to St John in a significant way now that the doors were open.  It hasn’t happened…..yet.

The bad news is that St Croix seems to be having a surge in positive tests that are mostly due to traveling workers at the Limetree Bay Refinery.

As a result of those positive tests, the various government agencies are aggressively enforcing all aspects of the Governor’s Executive Orders, including on St John.  Please remember that when a restaurant stays open, they due so at the risk of being held responsible for the actions of its customers.  If people are in the establishment without a mask when they go to the restroom, or while standing in line to be seated, then the restaurant is held responsible.  So please wear a mask and use the disinfectant even if you don’t like the policy.

The good news is we have all done an excellent job in keeping the virus off the island of St John.  We are all in this together.  If we can continue to be vigilant, we can continue to enjoy this wonderful island into the summer months.

Carnival at New Cruz Bay Tiki Bar

There is a new(ish) tiki bar in Cruz Bay called Drifters Tiki Bar at the previous Lumberyard location.  It is near where there were previously shipping container homes available for tour.

The tiki bar has tents setup this week with capacity limits being enforced, and virtual viewing available for people who want to watch from home and play it safe.

All content can be watched live on the USVI Festivals Facebook page.

Click here for previous post with more information about the Virtual St John Carnival: https://newsofstjohn.com/virtual-st-john-carnival/

Sahara Dust Update

The Sahara Dust has been the talk of the island over the last several days.  It is widely viewed to be the worst (or best depending on your perspective) case in roughly five decades.  The sun looked like the moon, and at times you could barely see the gorgeous views of our beautiful island.  But alas, the dust is moving on from St John and headed towards the states.  That means today is a beach day!

CNN is reporting:

“people in places like Brownsville in Texas and Houston will likely wake up to a beautiful sunrise and a hazier than normal sky.  Forecast models show the thicker concentration blanketing most of Central America and Mexico Thursday.”
You can check out this post to see how intense it was just a couple days ago:

https://newsofstjohn.com/a-natural-phenomenon-on-st-john/

 

First Results from Surge in St John COVID Testing……..

There were two positive COVID tests last week and the first positive test from community transmission.  As a result, some people on island have been a little on edge as their friends and relatives swarmed the health department to get tested, and patiently waited in quarantine for the results.

The first two rounds of results are in, and the results are fantastic so far:

  • One June 22nd, the Health Department reported that 14 tests came back negative, and zero positive.
  • On June 23rd, the Health Department reported another 28 tests came back negative!  That is a huge number considering only 112 people on St John have been tested in total.  Two results are TBD.

This essentially means that the contact tracing that was implemented in the aftermath of the positive tests last week have so far come back negative.  This is a hopeful sign that there was not significant community spread following the two positive tests.

It is likely that a significant number of people will continue to get tested this week.  It is quite possible/probable that new positive tests will still be found in the coming days and weeks.  But 42 negative tests and zero positive tests this week is a very positive sign that the Governor’s policies are working and that community spread is very limited.

Please continue to be vigilant on island about wearing your mask around other people.  Our testing numbers are very good but we are all in this together to keep it that way.

Here is a link to the previous COVID update.

Lind Point Trail: A Great Family Hike

If you want to explore St. John’s gorgeous National Parks by taking a hike and you’ve got young kids, you’re probably looking for a trail that fits two criteria: it’s short and easy and will be worth the trek. The Lind Point Trail delivers on these two fronts.

We parked just off North Shore Road in one of the gravel parking lots and started our hike by the large brown wooden “Virgin Islands National Park” sign. It probably took us twenty minutes or less to get from our car down to the beach—and that’s with a little one walking at a near-glacial pace.

The hike itself, which offers expansive views of Cruz Bay and the islands and cays of Pillsbury Sound, was easy enough that my four-year-old managed without ever sitting down in protest or demanding a piggy-back ride. It was rocky in many places but is well-traveled and never too steep. There are a few different paths you can take to get down to the beach, but we took the shortest and easiest route by following the signs that pointed to the beaches (even with its relative ease and the beautiful beach ending, I would still recommend sneakers over sandals).

The trail leads to Salomon Beach and Honeymoon Beach. We hung out at Salomon since that’s where the trail spit us out and because it looked like Honeymoon was the busier spot. Don’t get me wrong, it was not crowded, and we had plenty of beautiful white-sand beach to ourselves. Tons of folks were snorkeling and taking pictures, and my kids had a great time spotting different fish, sea urchins, and coral. The water was warm from the sun, but the breeze kept us nice and cool.

After a couple of hours I had to beg and plead for my kids to get out of the water so we could go home. They absolutely loved this spot—so much so that they’ve even asked to do this hike again. I would definitely recommend this hike to families with young kids.