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HomeNewsLocal newsUSVI Wellness Fair Announced, Healthcare Services Offered at No Cost to Residents

USVI Wellness Fair Announced, Healthcare Services Offered at No Cost to Residents

Dr. Tai Hunte-Ceasar, chief medical officer of the V.I. Health Department provides details about the upcoming USVI Wellness Fair in June. (Screenshot from Government House live stream)

During Monday’s weekly Government House press briefing, officials announced an upcoming Wellness Fair that will offer numerous healthcare services to residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Medical care will be provided at no cost to individuals of all ages, insured or uninsured.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., and Dr. Tai Hunte-Ceasar, chief medical officer of the V.I. Health Department explained that the USVI Wellness Fair 2024, described online as the “V.I. Be Well” Wellness Fair, will be held from Saturday, June 1, through Sunday, June 9. USVI residents will have free access to medical treatments and evaluations, including dental and optometry services, pediatric physical exams, mental health assessments, and various health screenings and tests.

“Today, we are excited and proud to officially announce the USVI Wellness Fair 2024,” Hunte-Ceasar stated. “[The Fair] is being hosted by the V.I. Health Department in partnership with the Office of Governor Albert Bryan Jr., and with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training Program (IRT),” Hunte-Ceasar continued.

According to the IRT official website, “IRT is a Department of Defense military training opportunity, exclusive to the United States and its territories, that delivers joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness. Simultaneously, IRT provides key services (health care, construction, transportation, and cybersecurity) with lasting benefits for our American communities.”

Medical missions “provide training opportunities to military units while providing incidental benefit to communities via no-cost healthcare. Services include optometry, health exams, dental, veterinary care, and public health education. Care is delivered by credentialed healthcare providers, and no one is turned away. These missions are typically conducted as fairs and may last for several days or weeks at a time to ensure maximum benefit during time spent in the community served,” the IRT website stated.

Healthcare workers from across the United States will be stationed on St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John to offer medical care during the event.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Mu Zhang, the officer in charge of the IRT’s 2024 medical mission to the U.S. Virgin Islands, joined Monday’s press briefing remotely to share additional information about the initiative.

“We have close to 300 healthcare professionals and support staff coming [to the USVI],” Zhang explained. “This includes 25 doctors, 20 dentists, 16 optometrists, and many, many nurses and technicians scheduled to be deployed across all three islands.”

Appointments are not required to visit a clinic for care, and residents will not be asked for any forms of identification or proof of health insurance.

“The USVI Wellness Fair will be [held] on a first-come, first-served basis,” Hunte-Ceasar said. “However, we will be allocating 20 appointment slots at 8 a.m. each day, specifically for the elderly and individuals with disabilities,” she continued. Registration for appointments held for older adults and persons with disabilities is encouraged and will become available online starting on May 20.

Wellness Fair Clinics Stationed across the USVI

The following locations and times of the clinics offering healthcare services are available on the Wellness Fair’s official website:

The Fair will be held from June 1 to June 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School gymnasium on St. Thomas and at the Educational Complex High School on St. Croix.

Pediatric services, such as pediatric physicals and vaccinations, will be provided by the V.I. Department of Health’s Maternal Child Health, or MCH Clinic.

The MCH on St. Thomas is located at the Elanco Building in Estate Contant. On St. Croix, the MCH Clinic will offer services at the University of the Virgin Islands Great Hall for the duration of the Wellness Fair.

On St. John, the MCH services will be available at the Morris F. deCastro Clinic at Cruz Bay.

Bryan expressed his enthusiasm in a statement posted on the Wellness Fair’s official website and during Monday’s press briefing.

“In terms of healthcare, this is huge for the Virgin Islands,” Bryan declared. “We’re going to make sure everything moves as smoothly as possible,” he added.

Locations offering healthcare during the USVI Wellness Fair 2024. (Photo courtesy USVI Wellness Fair official website)

Community Updates 

The governor provided additional community updates, including a reminder about Tuesday’s 2024 Spring Revenue Estimating Conference, hosted by the V.I. Office of Management and Budget.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. provides updates during a Government House weekly press briefing on Monday. (Screenshot from Government House live stream)

“This conference is an important exercise by our administration to provide insight into the economic forecast regarding our territories’ revenue outlook and projections that will impact the fiscal year 2025 executive budget,” Bryan said. Individuals can attend the conference online.

“You’ll see all the activity that we anticipate will happen in 2025 that makes revenue available to us to do the government’s work. Make sure you tune in,” Bryan noted.

The governor also provided an update on tax returns.

“I’m happy to announce that between the week leading up to Carnival and today, we have issued a total of more than $10 million to 3,500 tax filers who are due a refund, and who filed returns on or before April 21, 2022,” Bryan said. “The bulk of those refunds are to address 2021 tax year refunds. If you filed your taxes on time and are due a refund, look out for your refund if you have not already received it,” Bryan continued.

Throughout the information-packed conference, Bryan also expressed gratitude to residents across the USVI for a successful Carnival, congratulated students who will be graduating from schools across the territory, and wished mothers across the USVI a happy Mother’s Day on behalf of his administration.

Bryan also announced that he will be away from the territory from Monday, May 13, until Friday, May 19, to attend a National Governors Association meeting to discuss energy, resilience, and recovery efforts necessitated by the impacts of disasters in U.S. states and territories.

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