BVI News

No ‘community spread’ of COVID-19 in the BVI

Dr Ronald Georges

Though a number of residents recently tested positive for COVID-19, the British Virgin Islands is presently not experiencing any form of community spread of the virus and has not detected locally transmitted cases in almost four months.

This is according to the Acting Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health, Dr Ronald Georges who explained that community spread only happens when the health authorities are unable to trace confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases.

Dr Georges made the disclosure in an interview with BVI News following the territory’s recent increase in active cases to 18.

He said: “Community spread or community transmission connotes a whole different level of risk to the population and our economy. We are clearly not at that point.”

“Where we are is that our systems have caught a situation very early in evolution where we can make a course correction and hopefully avert a more difficult situation. We can consider this a serious wake up call to make the necessary adjustments and strengthen our adherence to and enforcement of the necessary protocols,” he further assured.

Highly likely the recent cases were imported

Health Minister Carvin Malone announced on Friday January 8, that investigations were ongoing into two recent COVID-19 cases, where two visitors tested positive during their exit screening to leave the territory.

The two visitors had previously tested negative on their arrival into the territory and on Day 4 of their mandatory quarantine period.

This disparity prompted BVI News to ask Dr Georges where was the origin of the virus since the visitors’ previous two tests in the territory were negative.

He replied: “What we are looking at here is persons who have entered the territory after having already contracted the COVID-19 virus and being within the incubation period of the virus have tested negative pre-travel, Day 0, and Day 4.”

“The incubation period before infection manifests as clinical symptoms, and in particular, the virus that can be detected in the nasopharynx varies between zero and fourteen days. And in exceptional cases, [it can take] as long as 21 days. The majority of persons will test positive between one and eight days with a number taking as long as 14 days,” he explained.

No cases of transmission locally since September

Dr Georges also revealed that since the last outbreak which occurred in the territory from late August to September, the local lab has processed thousands of samples for the virus and has not detected any local transmissions since then.

“We have not detected any cases of COVID-19 transmitted in the BVI since 18th of September. It is highly unlikely and basically improbable that the infection originated in the BVI. All cases previously were detected only in persons entering the territory. Our communicable disease surveillance system and sentinel screening have likewise not detected any evidence of transmission in the territory. Data is collected on a weekly basis from all health facilities about trends in all communicable disease and syndromes. Once any increases are detected they are investigated,” Dr Georges explained.

He added: “We also have a number of areas of sentinel surveillance for COVID-19 which are ongoing. All persons seen in the Emergency Room and admitted, all persons attending for surgery in the public or private sector, any person attending any health facility with COVID-like symptoms or similar syndrome are all tested for COVID-19. In addition, all persons leaving the territory are routinely tested, and all air and sea crew and also front-line workers are periodically tested.”

Meanwhile, Dr Georges said the contact tracing efforts on the latest positive cases have had promising results, with three close contacts being linked to one case.

He also noted that all of the casual contacts linked to the recent cases have so far returned negative results.

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  1. Stop with your big words says:

    There was community spread in Virgin Gorda. Coco Maya was where it started. A person the attended New Years Eve events took a dive trip and gave it to a dive company employee. It was a couple, so both are now in a 14 day quarantine.
    Stop with all your “Protocols” and “Incubation Periods” please. You are over your head!
    It is hear in the BVI and the way to protect yourself in to wear a mask and not go to these places that put a bunch of people together, feed them drinks, and then sit them next to people not living in their own households.

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    • Teacher says:

      “Do face masks provide protection from COVID-19?

      Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. The CDC recommends people wear face masks in public settings, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Wearing a face mask may limit exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles and may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus.Nov 24, 2020”

      Like 5
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    • Thunda says:

      Actually though the person attended a new year’s party, there has been no evidence that anyone there got infected.
      There is also no evidence to indicate it is “here in the bvi”
      While there are certainly procedures that can be improved, the government and health services have done and continue to do a good job to protect us.
      The only person “in over their head” is the person who writes in to declare protocols incubation period are big words…

  2. Reassuring says:

    Thank you, Dr. Georges for your professional assessment and calm reassurance. Rumors and hearsay harm the economy and foster added stress, unnecessarily. Honest communication of the facts sedates overactive imaginations, dissipates rumors and quells conspiracy theories. Your candor is appreciated.

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  3. What a lie says:

    There’s community spread in vg. Just look at the dive company

    Like 14
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  4. YOUTH says:

    Shame on the newsite that reported such non-factual information.

    Like 11
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  5. Clearly says:

    I am glad that this is cleared up.

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  6. WOW says:

    Dr. Georges we thank you for bringing the facts to light and clearing up all the printed misinformation. Some people would go to any length to try to make the Government look bad.

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  7. Illiogical says:

    Any form of community spread? Really? Dr.Georges should refresh his mind on the use of absolute terms. It is highly doubtful IMHO that there are no cases in the BVIs other than those people who have tested positive. It is a communicable disease. Most people who test positive don’t even know they have it, ergo, Dr. Georges assertion is inconsistent with the facts. It would be more accurate to say that thus far the evidence for community spread is limited, just as it would be smart to engage in community testing.

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  8. humor me says:

    How easy is it to get tested? Corona tell you where its at? Youall only respond to people who end up sick at the hospital. Youall think you can contain it or it going ask your permission. please

  9. Smith says:

    What is all the hoopla about? Can we get over this already? The common flu killed more annually and we never panicked like this. Just amazing how media hype has everyone shitting themselves like sheep. How many are actually taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle as opposed to locking themselves at home with a mask on?

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    • Do says:

      Do shut up.
      Ask the hundreds of thousands of people dead in the world if the common flu killed them?

      You invalidated your good points with the sheer ignorance of your first comments.

      God forbid you actually got sick and then understood.

      My mama always said prevention better than cure!

      Clearly she was right, since the cure aka the vaccine is not better.

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  10. What exit test? says:

    What exit test are they talking about? I just left last week. We tested before we arrived, we tested when we arrived, and we tested on day 4, but nobody ever mentioned an exit test to us. We flew back home to the states through Puerto Rico and nobody asked for an exit test ever.

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    • Exit Test says:

      Depends on what country you are flying back to. The UK requires an exit test…guess the USA does not require an exit test. SHOCKING!

    • It does says:

      St Thomas needs a test within 5 days of travel there so many need the exit rest. Puerto Rico does not if you are in transit.

  11. Eagle eye says:

    Covid is a fraud so how can it spread.they link the flu symptoms to it that’s all.

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  12. Shorty says:

    Interesting statement about no community spread but their co-worker tested positive and several other people who attended the event in Virgin Gorda. These are residents who haven’t left the island.

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