A St. Thomas man, 58, has died of complications from COVID-19, bringing the territory’s death toll from the virus to 124, the V.I. Health Department announced Wednesday morning.
“The VIDOH extends condolences to the family and friends of our latest COVID-19-related fatality,” the department said in a press release.
“The department continues to work to slow the spread of COVID-19 and encourages the public to become fully vaccinated and boosted,” the released stated. “Residents are also urged to remember to follow all precautionary measures by practicing social distancing around persons with whom you do not reside, wearing a mask in crowded public areas, washing your hands often with soap and warm water, and cleaning frequently used areas thoroughly.”
As of Tuesday, the Health Department reported 38 active cases on St. Croix, 7 on St. Thomas, and 3 on St. John.
The latest death comes amid concerns that the winter season and new strains of COVID-19 will bring an increase in the number of cases.
Dr. Esther Ellis, the territory’s epidemiologist, said at the weekly Government House press briefing on Monday that the new strains of COVID — XBB, BQ, BA4.6, BQ1, BQ1.1, BF 7 — are fast spreaders, so vaccination is as important as ever.
The virus is endemic now, which means it “is always circulating” in the public, Ellis said.
Vaccinations are free and readily available at the territory’s Community Health clinics.
On St. Thomas, the hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, on the second floor of Schneider Regional Medical Center. Call 340-774-7477, ext. 5665 for more information.
On St. Croix, vaccination hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the modular Building 1 of the Charles Harwood Memorial Complex. Call 340-718-1311, ext. 3895 or 3822 for more information.
On St. John, vaccinations are available by appointment at the Morris De Castro Clinic in Cruz Bay. Call 340-776-6400.
COVID-19 testing is available on St. Croix on Mondays and Fridays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Charles Harwood Clinic. The Schneider Regional Medical Center loading dock is the site for tests on St. Thomas on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tests are available on St. John at the Port Authority gravel pit on Wednesdays from noon to 3 p.m.
Ellis recommends that adults and children get a flu shot, as well.