Tourists wait to depart the West End Ferry Terminal over the weekend. (Photo: ZARRIN TASNIM AHMED)

After a Covid-19 spike sparked a limit on social gatherings last week, the number of active cases dropped to 899 from a peak of at least 1,387, according to numbers published by the government’s Covid-19 dashboard on Monday.

But over the past seven days, the government also reported seven more deaths of people with Covid-19, bringing the total to 47. Officials had not provided information about the additional deaths as of press time.

Most of the active cases remained on Tortola, with 705 as of Monday, according to the dashboard. There were 149 cases on Virgin Gorda, 40 on Anegada, one on Jost Van Dyke, and one aboard a vessel.

A total of 834 cases were found locally and through contact tracing, the dashboard added. Twenty-three were found during “day zero” entry screening, 19 during “day seven” entry screening, and 23 during travel screenings.

Stakeholder meeting

The Ministry of Health and Social Development and the Health Emergency Operations Centre held a virtual stakeholder meeting last Thursday evening to discuss the impact of the recent Covid-19 surge.

“We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for over a year, almost two years, and we’ve certainly recognised things have changed for us in one way or another,” HSD Ministry Acting Permanent Secretary Tasha Bertie said during the meeting.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronald Georges said many businesses have implemented measures to help curb the spread of the virus among their staff.

Some of these measures include setting shifts; asking employees to work remotely where possible and reducing the in-house workforce; and ensuring that employees adhere to public health measures while interacting with each other.

“It’s very important for businesses to be very strict on these issues,” Dr. Georges added.

He also said that the current isolation period for those who have tested positive is 10 days. The territory, he added, will “continue to review the information that’s coming out of the United Kingdom and the United States to determine if any further changes need to be made.”

Chief Environmental Officer Lionel Michael estimated that businesses have been “98 percent” compliant in hand hygiene practices, but he added that many people continue to wear their masks improperly.

“We’ve seen over 400 tickets, and a majority of those tickets are related to mask-wearing,” he said.

He encouraged businesses and others to make announcements about properly wearing masks.

“We do requests that when people have fetes and parties that deejays, artists, make periodic announcements to the audiences to keep their masks on,” he said.

Vaccine drive

Meanwhile, the BVI Health Services Authority extended its vaccination drive to Virgin Gorda over the weekend, offering the jab to residents on Saturday at the Nurse Iris O’Neal Clinic.

Shots of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines were available for those seeking first, second and booster doses.

On Tortola, the BVIHSA continues its vaccination drive throughout the week at the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital lobby.

57.3 percent vaxxed

As of Monday, 17,184 people had been fully vaccinated in the territory, representing about 57.3 percent of the territory’s residents, according to the Monday dashboard. Another 1,524 people had been partially vaccinated.