Malone announced last Friday while giving an emergency update on the territory’s COVID-19 status that one of the BVI’s elderly residents passed away as a result of the virus.
However, speaking on the VIP Let’s Talk radio show last evening, Malone said while the elderly person may have died after being diagnosed with the virus, an autopsy had not yet been done to determine the official cause of death.
A COVID-19 update the minister delivered last evening, as well as the most recent bulletin issued by health officials, both cite the total number of COVID-related deaths in the BVI as one.
“I made sure that we had been transparent … when I announced that here we have the second person who died positive with COVID-19. But as to whether or not the second person died from COVID-19 would have to be determined by the autopsy that will be taken,” the minister said.
At the time, Malone made that potentially false announcement on July 2, only one day remained for unvaccinated residents to get a viable jab from the territory’s stock of soon-to-expire AstraZeneca vaccines. The UK has since pledged to supply the territory with more.
Meanwhile, Malone disclosed that there were an additional 80 COVID-19 positive cases added overnight. This brings the total number of active cases to 558.
It was also revealed that two persons who contracted the virus were being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital.
A new community testing schedule was also announced for persons who may have been exposed to the virus at various institutions and gatherings over the last few weeks.
Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley suggested that the recent upsurge and rapid spread of the virus were perhaps due to what he suspected was the delta variant of the virus. But this has not yet been confirmed by health officials.
He also said a general lack of awareness and concern for the territory’s situation has also been a significant contributing factor.
“The reason why we have spread is because lots of persons who most likely do not know that they’re positive – they don’t know that they’ve been exposed – they continue to move around and make contact with other persons, and those persons become infected,” Dr Wheatley said.
Both Dr Wheatley and Malone applauded businesses that chose to voluntarily cease operations temporarily to help stem the outbreak.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Ronald Georges in a statement released yesterday, said the unprecedented rise in infections was uncharacteristic of previous outbreaks in the territory.
According to the CMO, concern needs to be given to identifying the variants of COVID-19 circulating in the territory as a result of this.