COVID-19

TORTOLA — A top health official in the British Virgin Islands reported two COVID-related deaths during a virtual meeting Thursday.

One of the individuals was unvaccinated, according to Dr. Ronald Georges, acting chief medical officer.

He did not specify the victims’ gender or age.

Georges’ announcement came during a virtual stakeholders meeting held to address the rise in positive cases in the territory. He reported that active cases, which earlier this week were at 1,387, are now down to 1,220.

The BVI has had 42 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Schools

Georges said discussions are in the infant stage for testing students that could allow for in-person learning.

Classes resumed last week for students online.

Georges said different countries worldwide are dealing with the in-person learning concerns different, noting “for example, in different schools in the U.K. and the U.S., you may see testing regimens, weekly rapid testing, you may see twice-weekly rapid testing, thrice-weekly rapid testing.”

“These all have cost implications and there are different strategies where one day they may test the entire population repeatedly or they may do more opportunistic testing. But essentially, putting a testing regime in place in schools is quite important in reducing the risks of infections in schools and allowing schools to open safely,” Georges said.

He added that the territory is in the midst of an omicron outbreak and that once cases decrease substantially, the Ministry of Education has plans to reopen schools as quickly as possible.

Education officials, Georges said, plan to review strategies that can be used to implement testing at schools.