40 cases of the Coronavirus have now been reported in the U.S. Territory, and for the first time, infected individuals have had to be hospitalized because of their symptoms.
According to the VI Department of Health, as of Friday evening, 40 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Virgin Islands, three of those individuals are hospitalized, but reported to be in stable condition.
266 individuals have been tested for the virus, 40 tested positive; 26 in St. Thomas, 12 in St. Croix, and 2 in St. John, 42 tests are pending and 34 people have recovered.
During a news conference Friday afternoon, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. said the federal government has approved the deployment of the National Guard to assist law enforcement in keeping the peace in the U.S. Territory, efforts which will be 100% funded by FEMA.
USVI News also learned another airline has canceled flights into the Territory.
Spirit Airlines is canceling incoming flights from April 8th to May 5th.
Last month, Governor Bryan ordered all hotels, bed and breakfasts, and Airbnbs to stop accepting new reservations.
He says that order has significantly decreased the amount of visitors coming to the U.S. Territory.
As of Friday afternoon, the average flight into the Virgin Islands is carrying 30 people or less from the mainland, those people who arrive are being advised to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
Governor Bryan is also urging the small business community to take advantage of funding available from the Small Business Association (SBA)
Through the Paycheck Protection Program, the SBA is offering loans to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, to provide direct payment to their employees, and keep up with rent and utilities.
Governor Bryan says the Small Business Association is forgiving loans if businesses keep employees on for 8 weeks.
To sign up for the loans business owners can visit sba.gov.
Also during Friday’s news conference Governor Bryan reiterated to businesses to make sure they are enforcing social distancing.
He said they have been forced to close 11 businesses which are not abiding by the executive order to have no more than 10 people inside a business at one time. Larger businesses, like grocery stores, can have up to 50 people inside at one time.
As far as beaches, the governor said people continue to visit, which is okay if they keep 6 feet distance, the government is considering closing beaches which are attracting large crowds of people.
As far as schools, they are also considering whether or not to close schools for the rest of this school year, no decision has been made as of yet.
At this point the USVI government is not implementing curfew, but, as the governor has been doing for several weeks, he continues to encourage people to stay at home and go out only if absolutely necessary.