With more than 100 active COVID-19 cases — including 111 on St. Thomas alone — and vaccinations plateauing around 41,000, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced a $1 million lottery that will give 10 vaccinated residents $100,000 each.
Bryan said they’re working with the V.I. Lottery and Director Raymond Williams, and “we’re going to try to make it as transparent as possible.”
The lottery will begin on July 6 and one person will receive $100,000 each week for 10 consecutive weeks. Residents who already are vaccinated will automatically be entered into the drawing, and residents who are not vaccinated have enough time to become fully vaccinated prior to the first drawing. The only requirement to enter the drawing is proof of residency.
41,673 people have received at least one dose so far, and 35,486 are fully vaccinated, Bryan said.
“Forty thousand is good but it ain’t great, and we need to get another 10,000 on there to really secure it,” Bryan said.
Bryan said he anticipated some negative feedback about the vaccine lottery, but the push to herd immunity is worth the cost: “It’s a small price to pay, $1 million, if we can get 10,000 people to get the vaccine.”
Bryan said he and his close family members are not eligible to receive the prize, and more specific rules will be announced soon.
The territory’s seven-day test positivity rate is currently 3.76%, and there are currently 126 active cases in the territory, including 11 on St. Thomas, eight on St. Croix, and seven on St. John. There have been 28 fatalities. There are no COVID-19 patients at Luis Hospital, but five patients are receiving treatment at Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas, including one person on a ventilator.
Anyone who thinks they may have contracted COVID-19 can call the Epidemiology hotline at 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519. For more information, visit covid19usvi.com.
For information about the COVID-19 vaccines, call the VITEMA hotline Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 340-777-8227.
Bryan also said he has approved giving $1.5 million each to the St. Croix Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to be used for literacy and numeracy programs for Virgin Islands students during the summer and into the school year.
The funding is open to organizations that offer tutoring and other academic enrichment services. In the coming weeks, the foundations will be issuing guidelines to the organizations that wish to apply.