Active COVID-19 cases in the BVI have rocketed to more than four dozen in the past few days.
Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Ronald Georges gave that indication during the government’s meeting with stakeholders in the local transportation-for-hire industry last evening.
“Currently, today we have 50 active cases, last week we had 25 and the numbers are creeping back up,” Dr Georges disclosed.
He explained that the local hospital continues to see daily positive cases, both from the local community and from persons who are screened as they enter the territory.
During its recent spike several weeks ago, the BVI saw an astronomical spread in the virus that resulted in more than 1,600 positive cases. From that period of community spread, the territory saw more than 100 persons being hospitalised and experienced some 36 COVID-related deaths, Dr Georges said.
The CMO said: “We’ve just come out of a bad place. We’re in a relatively good place but we still have to be very cautious and pensive about where we’re going. So, as we’re seeing the numbers inching up a little bit right now, as I’m saying, we have to be still cautious.”
Addressing the issue of managing the risk of increased cases in the territory given a likely resumption of cruise passengers, Dr Georges said passengers can either be tested up to 72 hours before their arrival or alternatively placed in a bubble where the testing option is waived.
Cruise industry officials have indicated that they are not in favour of the first option of testing upon arrival.
The purpose of the second option, he disclosed, would be to limit the potential exposure and risk to the community.
In order to make the bubble option workable, Dr Georges said there needed to be a high level of vaccination and a high level of implementation of public health measures.
The CMO said the issue was a balancing act for the Cabinet, which is the executive arm of government.
“Those are the kind of considerations that Cabinet has to make in deciding how it will move forward with I would say the resumption of cruise [passengers] and it’s a balancing act balancing the potential risks of another outbreak in the territory and the impacts of that together with the benefits,” Dr Georges said.
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