Two local police stations have been ordered ‘temporarily closed’ as “a small number of officers” from those stations are among the 16 new COVID-19 cases that were tested and confirmed between Friday, August 28 and Saturday.
These bring the total number of active cases in the territory to 47 and the overall number of positive cases to 38.
This news was unceremoniously announced Sunday morning in a joint written statement from Health Minister Carvin Malone and Governor Augustus Jaspert, who has portfolio responsibility for the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).
The affected RVIPF facilities are the East End/Long Look Police Station and the Road Town Police Station on Tortola.
The stations will be temporarily closed for deep cleaning and disinfection “in order to minimise risk”.
“However, other police resources have been put in place to ensure adequate coverage to protect those communities, enforce the curfew, and maintain general law and order,” the statement read.
Officers removed from service
Meanwhile, the officers who tested positive have since been removed from service and will remain in isolation until fully recovered.
“All members of their households and other close contacts, including other police officers, are being quarantined and tested. Out of an abundance of caution, all remaining police officers are being given priority for COVID-19 testing,” the statement continued.
“There is a likelihood of further transmission of COVID-19 in the territory, and frontline workers have a heightened risk of exposure. Therefore, periodic testing of staff across health, police, and other frontline agencies is ongoing, and all measures are being implemented to reduce the exposure risk,” Minister Malone and Governor Jaspert further said.
Avoid going to these facilities
They said members of the public are, therefore, advised to avoid going to these facilities in person “unless there is an emergency”.
The public is further advised to call ahead before visiting any healthcare facility. They are asked to dial ‘911’ for all emergencies and ‘311’ to reach the RVIPF’s 24-hour non-emergency contact number.
In the meantime, persons who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, headache, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle aches or difficulty breathing are encouraged to contact the territory’s medical hotline at 284-852-7650 to schedule an appointment for testing.
“As contact tracing continues, we are confident that, with your cooperation, we can bring this situation under control in a short time. As such, all persons in the Territory should remain vigilant; follow the health and safety measures, stay at home and limit social interaction with anyone outside your household to reduce exposure,” the statement read.
It added: “If you must go out to work or to access essential services, practice safety precautions when returning home in order to protect other members of your household, particularly those at higher risk of severe illness, such as seniors and persons with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems.”
As a result of the clusters of COVID-19 that have developed in sections of the territory, a two-week curfew has been implemented and will run between 5 pm and 5 am daily.
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