MORE PATIENTS EVACUATED TO U.S. MAINLAND AS HURRICANE RECOVERY EFFORTS CONTINUE
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Thirty-two patients needing medical attention were evacuated from Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center on St. Croix this weekend.
Speaking with members of the media on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Health Dr. Michelle Davis reported that 20 patients were flown to Atlanta on Saturday, while 12 patients were sent to Shreveport, Louisiana, on Sunday, as the government responds to the urgent health-care needs of residents in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which impacted the Territory’s medical services. Forty dialysis patients, she added, are now being prepared to leave the Territory.
Governor Kenneth E. Mapp announced he will meet with the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), William B. “Brock” Long, in the Territory on Monday to discuss additional logistics of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ recovery and reconstruction, including plans for a community disaster loan from the federal government.
To support the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA) ongoing recovery efforts, the Governor also announced 125 linemen from the mainland United States are expected to arrive in the Territory by the end of this week.
The 24-hour curfew on St. Croix will be suspended again from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, September 25. During the suspension, FirstBank and Banco Popular in Orange Grove will be open for business from noon to approximately 3 p.m. The 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. curfew for the St. Thomas/St. John district remains in effect.
The Governor confirmed the second Hurricane Maria-related fatality, extending his condolences to the family of a man who was killed when a mudslide damaged his home. This brings the total number of reported fatalities in the Territory attributed to the hurricanes to seven.
Commissioner Davis offered health and safety tips as residents continue to clean up their homes, recommending the use of protective items like hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, steel-toed boots and ear plugs, as well as fire extinguishers.
She also reminded them that anything that has come into contact with flood water could be carrying germs. For cleaning anything with mold, she advised a ratio of one cup household bleach to one gallon water, while for washing children’s toys, she advised a ratio of one cup household bleach to five gallons water, followed by air drying the toys. The Commissioner reminded residents to wear protective gloves and a mask and to keep windows and doors open when using bleach.
Regarding mosquito protection, she asked residents to continue to follow the “Dress, Drain and Defend” message announced by the Department of Health, which advises residents to dress in lightweight long-sleeved clothing, drain standing water, and use insect repellent as a defense against mosquitoes.
Governor Mapp commended the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) for keeping the community safe, and implored the public to follow the law or face the consequences: “You have to decide what part you want to play in this community.” He confirmed the 911 line is functioning, and reminded the public to report any crimes so the VIPD can respond.
The Territory’s leader commended the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands on their resilience in getting through the process of recovery each day and thanked them for their patience. “God bless each and every one of you,” he encouraged.
Residents can register for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visiting www.disasterassistance.gov .
The official website to donate to the U.S. Virgin Islands recovery effort is usvirecovery.org .
Other resources for information include:
Government House: informusvi.com
VITEMA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vitema
Government House Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GovernmentHouseUSVI/
The Department of Tourism: www.usviupdate.com
Emergency Operation Centers:
(340) 773-2244 (St. Croix)
(340) 776-2244 (St. John)
(340) 774-2244 (St. Thomas)