The COVID-19 infection rate on St. Thomas has doubled, according to the V.I. Health Department, which is reminding the public that antibody treatments are available.
As of Saturday, there were 105 active COVID-19 cases in the territory, according to the Health Department.
“This illustrates how dire the situation still is in the territory despite serious mitigation efforts and policies set forth by the government,” according to a Health Department news release issued Saturday.
A week ago, on Feb. 8, Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Tai Hunte-Ceasar said that the positivity rate for COVID-19 tests had dropped to 2.3%, which is “something to be proud of,” and “the overall trend is downward, and is encouraging.”
However, by Thursday, the seven-day positivity rate jumped to 5.5 percent, driven primarily by new infections on St. Thomas, according to Health Department statistics.
As of the Saturday report there was only one new case on St. Croix and St. John each — while St. Thomas had 15 new cases. Of the 105 active cases in the report, 25 are on St. Croix, five are on St. John, and a 75 are on St. Thomas — meaning 71% of all active cases in the territory are on St. Thomas.
In addition to vaccinations, “there are alternative medical countermeasures that we have been federally allocated to use to prevent severe illness and death,” according to the Health Department.
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of three monoclonal antibody treatments designed to block the COVID-19 virus from entering cells.
“The treatments are most suitable for treating mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and in pediatric patients aged 12 and older weighing at least 88 pounds, who are at high risk for progressing to more severe illness or hospitalization,” according to the news release.
To be considered high risk, patients must meet certain criteria, and the treatments are not appropriate for every patient, and have not been authorized for use on those who are hospitalized or on oxygen therapy.
“Since we have been infusing patients who meet criteria for monocloncal antibody treatment, we have had 100% success at preventing progression of symptoms. All the patients report a dramatic improvement in symptoms within 24-48 hours. This is a tremendous resource that is available to prevent severe disease in our vulnerable populations,” said Hunte-Caesar.
The Health Department advises individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, to contact their healthcare provider immediately to determine if they qualify for monoclonal antibody treatment as benefits have only been seen if treatment is used before symptoms become too severe.
If you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you are sick, contact the Health Department hotline at 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.
“We should all still be practicing social distancing, washing our hands frequently with soap and warm water, and wearing a mask. Those basic preventive measures are effective, but the COVID-19 vaccines are our strongest weapon against the virus,” said Health Department spokeswoman Jahnesta Ritter.
To find out if you are eligible to be vaccinated, visit covid19usvi.com/vaccines. To schedule your first dose, call 340-777-8227.