Dr. Brett Ellis, US Virgin Islands Territorial Laboratory Director, shared some incredible statistics at today’s press conference regarding our Covid-19 numbers. From the figures provided, it appears that the course of action taken by our Government has had the exact impact we have all worked so hard – and sacrificed so much – to achieve. Not only have we met our goal of a 3 to 5 % positivity rate (the number of positive tests in relation to the total number of tests conducted in any given period), WE HAVE EXCEEDED OUR GOAL!
After a concerning month in August, watching our numbers peak at a high of 15%, we have been cautiously optimistic over the last 30 days, watching the numbers decrease and remain steady at 3.6%. And this week – two and a half weeks after opening our doors again to travelers – we reached a low of 1%!
Dr. Ellis referenced an article published in today’s Washington Post which lists US states and territories, starting with the highest daily reported cases per capita. The US Virgin Islands is the LOWEST of any state or territory in US jurisdiction, with the exception of Maine!
The question on the minds of many residents is whether we are conducting enough testing to reflect an accurate statistic. According to Dr. Ellis, when our numbers are in the low range – such as 3% – we are testing enough to get a representative sample of the community. When the number rises above 10%, there is more we need to do. In July and August, we were testing around 7% of the population. The Governor’s goal was to increase the testing to 10% or higher, and today we are there.
To assist with our testing goals, we are receiving an increase in testing supplies every month. Currently, around 7,500 tests are delivered to the USVI, and we anticipate that number to increase to 30,000 tests by the end of the year.
“We are hoping that we can take full advantage of the number of tests we receive,” said Ellis. “Certainly there is more demand and more participation when our rates are higher, so in a slower month or a low month we’re looking at 4,500 tests, in a high month we’ve done almost 7,000, so we are hoping to take advantage of this and really increase that frequency for populations that are higher risk and get our test numbers up even higher through the end of the year.”
Dr. Ellis cautioned that the only way to stay on this positive (or rather, ‘negative’) track is to remain diligent by social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and making every effort to protect ourselves and others. “We should be proud of our efforts,” said Ellis. Indeed we should. Cheers to everyone who has done their part to help keep our community safe.
If you’re wondering about the noticeable absence of our Governor from the last two press conferences, we are told that he has spent the last couple of weeks in the states caring for his daughter, who is ill with a non-Covid related illness. All of us at News of St. John extend our heartfelt wishes for his daughter’s full recovery. The Governor has returned to the territory and is under quarantine while awaiting his Covid-19 test results.