Three employees of the V.I. Human Services Department have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing facilities on St. Thomas and St. Croix to temporarily close.
On Thursday, DHS announced the closure of the Knud Hansen facility on St. Thomas after two employees tested positive for the virus. The facility, which is the department’s primary complex on St. Thomas, will reopen Monday after a weekend cleaning, according to a news release.
On St. Croix, the Kingshill Head Start location also closed after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member had no contact with any Head Start family members, according to the department. The facility will remain closed until other Kingshill staff members are tested.
Meal distribution to students served through the Kingshill facility will be postponed until after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, resuming Jan. 19. Other Head Start facilities will continue normal operations.
In both the St. Thomas and St. Croix cases, Human Services advised staff members who had potential exposure to quarantine until they garner a negative COVID-19 test result. Cleaning and sanitization protocols were also initiated.
The department told The Daily News that they could not reveal the type of work the individuals were involved in due to privacy protection. However, they emphasized that those infected were not in direct contact with the public.
Human Services employees are often on the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, and regularly engage with populations vulnerable to the virus. In August, the Knud Hansen complex was closed for days after an unreleased number of employees tested positive for the virus.
While COVID-19 vaccines are now in the territory, not all Human Services employees are eligible in the current phase of the rollout, only those who have direct contact with clients.