Chief Executive Officer of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) Dr Ronald Georges said COVID-19 tests conducted on 13 recently-deceased residents have shown no presence of the virus.
“All persons who die, regardless of the cause of death, are tested for COVID-19 by the pathologist,” Dr Georges told BVI News.
He gave that report amid fears that the stigma associated with the disease may have led to persons to shun medical care and die at home.
The territory conducted its first COVID-19 screening of deceased persons April 7. These screens confirm previous reports that only one person died from coronavirus-related symptoms locally. That person, a female patient, tested positive for the virus before her death.
Responding to further questions from BVI News, Dr Georges said the procedure of posthumous testing involves the pathologist retrieving nasal swabs from the deceased. The samples collected from the swab are then subjected to a real-time polymerase chain reaction that would be tested for COVID-19.
Not out of the woods yet
In the meantime, Premier Andrew Fahie urged residents to continue adhering to the social distancing and hygiene protocols.
In a June 24 statement, he said: “Remember that even though we have no new or existing confirmed cases of COVID-19, we are not yet out of the woods. COVID-19 is real. In fact, some countries in the world are seeing a significant resurgence, and this is no good news for economies around the world.”
He continued: “I want to impress upon us here the importance of not becoming complacent. We cannot let down our guard. We are fighting an enemy that we cannot see. We continue to have preventative measures in place, but the safety of us all depends on what we do. As a Government, we know that all of the decisions are not always popular. Many of them are tough, but I can assure you that they were made in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands.”
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