Active COVID Cases Remain in the Single Digits as the US Nears the End of the Public Health Emergency

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – The VI Department of Health, today, is reporting that the number of COVID cases remains in the single digits, with the positivity rate holding at 2.4 percent.

"Thank you to those of you who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters," VI Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion said. "Today we have a total of 7 (seven) active cases territory-wide (7 on St. Croix, 0 on St. Thomas and 0 on St. John). Last week our Epi report indicated 8 active COVID cases."

Hospitalizations territory-wide total two - one at the Juan F Luis Hospital on St. Croix and one at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.

Although the number of COVID cases is at a record low, the Health Department is urging the community to continue to follow the health guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"Looking ahead to the upcoming Carnival activities, I encourage everyone attending the festivities to be mindful that the virus is still with us," she said. "It is because of you, getting vaccinated and boosted, and following our health guidelines, that the numbers remain low. Please continue to do what you have been doing to protect yourself and your family, especially if there is someone with a compromised immune system in the household."

The VI Department of Health continues to provide the FLU vaccine and the COVID vaccine, free for as long as supplies last to everyone age 6 months or older.

For information about the locations and times for vaccines, please call our offices at 340-718-1311 on St. Croix, 340-774-7477 for adults on St. Thomas, and 340-777-8804 ext. 2600 for children on St. Thomas. On St. John, visit the V.I. Port Authority Gravel Lot, on Wednesdays, between 1 and 4 pm.

COVID Public Health Emergency

The Department of Health is also reminding the public that the federal Public Health Emergency declared under the Public Health Service Act for COVID-19 ends on May 11th, of this year. While COVID-19 is not over, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services believes the nation is able to end the emergency phase of the response.

"However, not every benefit will immediately come to an end," Commissioner Encarnacion said. "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will extend certain important protections to ensure that everyone has access to critical COVID-19 countermeasures such as vaccines, tests, and treatments."

Here is what to expect when the public health emergency ends:

  • Coverage for COVID-19 vaccines, seasonal influenza vaccines, and COVID-19 tests will be extended through December 2024.
  • Coverage will be extended through December 2024 for federal agreements which include activities related to the provision of COVID-19 countermeasures such as the vaccines and treatments.
  • Once products are no longer distributed under a US government agreement, coverage will no longer extend to the following activities:
  1. COVID-19 vaccination by non-traditional providers such as students and retirees; and COVID-19 vaccinations across state lines by licensed providers and pharmacists and pharmacy interns.
  2. Additionally, once there is no emergency in effect, coverage will no longer extend to all routine childhood vaccinations by pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians.

Some of the key features that will not change under the amended declaration:

  • The amended declaration will not have any immediate impact on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests currently distributed by the US Government either now or when the COVID-19 Public Health ends on May 11.
  • No change to coverage for certain prescribing and dispensing of COVID-19 oral antivirals. Liability immunity will continue to be offered for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy interns dispensing COVID-19 treatments, in accordance with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization, such as the oral antiviral treatments Paxlovid and Lagevrio.
  • No change to the “Test to Treat” program. Pharmacists and other providers prescribing tests in the “Test to Treat” program will continue to receive liability protection.