BY: KAMAL HAYNES ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2020
Approximately four dozen COVID-19 cases have been detected in the BVI to date and local health authorities suspect more than a thousand undocumented positive cases currently exists in the territory.
This is according to Minister of Health Carvin Malone who said in a national address on Tuesday that 70 percent of the total 47 cases identified so far was through contact tracing by public health professionals.
He also said 32 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in the BVI have been found to be is asymptomatic.
“We believe that we are seeing the tip of the iceberg and there are more persons possibly infected in the population who are asymptomatic and can readily spread the disease. Which means that we may have many undocumented cases of who are transmitting the virus,” Malone stated.
“While we don’t exactly know how much spread is caused by our asymptomatic group, current estimates place our undocumented cases at approximately 1,482 persons at a minimum,” he added.
Infected areas identified
Minister Malone also listed a number of areas across the mainland of Tortola that have been affected by positive COVID-19 cases. He said these areas are linked to Case Number 12.
They include Huntum’s Ghut, Lower Estate, Long Bush, Cane Garden Bay, Hannah’s, Purcell Estate, Fat Hog’s Bay, Sea Cow’s Bay, Lambert’s Estate, and Road Town communities.
Malone also said the primary and secondary contacts of these cases are further dispersed throughout other communities on the eastern, western and central districts of the island and on the sister island of Anegada.
Critical workers impacted
The minister further raised concerns for the BVI’s frontline, health and security personnel.
He said nearly 20 percent of these persons are being severely impacted by the virus by either having to be isolated or quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
“These are services for which there are limited or no reserves on territory who can be utilised to close the widening gap. We cannot as a territory afford the frontline to collapse or for this observed growth rate to continue,” he stated.
“Limiting the opening hours throughout the territory at this time for a 14 day period not only allows for the team to finalize their contact tracing and testing, but affords the BVI a much needed break in the transmission chain so that while transmission may continue among households, outside households transmission will be reduced,” Malone further explained.
The BVI is currently classified as experiencing small clusters of COVID-19 with 38 active cases — two of which are currently hospitalised.