A new online portal, along with a travel app that is in the works, will streamline the screening process for visitors coming from “hotspot” states, allowing them to upload the required paperwork and test results before they fly in, according to Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.
During a press conference Monday, Bryan said his public health team has been working to tighten screening at the air and seaports, stretching thin local resources that could be boosted with the rollout of the portal. Visitors are encouraged to visit www.usviupdate.com/travelportal before traveling to speed up the process.
“This portal is really the beginning stage of our multitiered plan to improve and make more efficient our health screening protocols for incoming travelers during this pandemic,” Bryan said. “There is no playbook to this pandemic. We must draw these plays as we are running them, and your input, engagement and, more importantly, your cooperation is what will determine how successful we will be.”
As of Bryan’s Monday afternoon news conference, a total of 8,410 residents have been tested in the territory, roughly 8.5 percent of the population. Of that amount, 8,033 tests came back negative, 364 positive, with 107 active cases being tracked, including six patients at the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas and two patients at the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix. At the time of Monday’s news conference, 13 tests were pending.
According to an alert at 9 p.m. Monday, the number of positives increased to 375, but active cases decreased to 76.
Seven deaths have been recorded, including one this past weekend, and on Monday the governor urged residents not to hesitate in getting medical attention or tested if experiencing symptoms or having trouble breathing. Call ahead to the hospital, and let them know you’re on your way, or call an ambulance, he added.
“We’ve done a good job of taking care of people once we have them hospitalized, and we want to continue doing well in this regard,” he said. “We are seeing people being able to be hospitalized and recover. They’re going onto the ventilators and leaving the hospital, and we will continue to make sure that we have the medical resources available to our community.”
Asked by reporters later, Bryan said the government is in negotiations to receive 20,000 more tests, with 2,500 expected this week. Four new machines for testing are also on the island, and Bryan said his team is trying to get another one that conducts 200-300 tests per day.
Separately, Bryan announced that the moratorium on tenant evictions, which was set to expire Monday, would be extended for another month, with conditions. While hoping to help residents unable to pay their rent, Bryan said landlords also have obligations and, hoping for a compromise, proposed that tenants cannot be evicted if they are 60 days or less behind in rent.
Additionally, stimulus checks have been printed for Social Security recipients who have not already received one from the federal government. Bryan said a total of 6,473 checks, totaling $7.7 million, will be ready for pick up once a delivery system, which will allow recipients to come and pick them up, is set up.