More than 200 new COVID-19 cases have been added to the BVI’s tally in less than 72 hours; highlighting the frightening rate at which the number of positive cases is multiplying in the territory.
According to the territory’s latest epidemiological summary released yesterday afternoon, the current reported count of active cases stands at 1,272 cases.
This represents 223 cases more than the previous total of 1,049 announced by Health Minister Malone when he commenced a live Facebook broadcast at 6:38 pm three days earlier.
And with the discovery of the Omicron variant in the territory, Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Ronald Georges said there will continue to be quite an increase in cases since the doubling time for this variant is between two to three days.
“So Omicron is much more efficient at spreading from person to person and the increases in numbers are much more drastic than the other variants that have been in circulation,” Dr Georges said.
The CMO said even though cases with the Omicron variant are of a milder nature, the sheer number of cases that are created can lead to significant hospitalisations.
Current hospitalisations from COVID have risen from 12 persons last week to 16 persons as of Monday.
And while the vast majority of total active cases (1,035) continue to be on Tortola, cases have begun to climb considerably on the sister islands as well.
There are now 214 reported cases on Virgin Gorda, four cases on Jost Van Dyke and 19 on Anegada.
More than half of the cases — 658 persons — have been described as local cases, while a further 498 have been determined to be contacts of cases.
Shortage of healthcare workers
This news comes as health officials have announced a shortage of healthcare workers, with more than 100 of those officers having tested positive last week for the coronavirus.
Dr Georges attributed the rapid surge in cases partially to lax adherence to social distancing and sanitisation protocols.
He said there was a number of large gatherings over the holiday period, including staff parties and Christmas concerts that helped to increase the number of cases.
The CMO said since the COVID-19 outbreak last year, the government has relaxed a number of restrictive measures that had been put in place back then, for the purpose of increasing economic activity.
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