Senator Marvin Blyden issued a statement today providing information to clarify matters about the situation surrounding his alleged COVID-19 infection. While Blyden apologized profusely for his 'terrible' lapse of judgement and for failing to properly set an example as a community leader, he maintained that he did not and would never knowingly expose others to COVID-19 or any other disease, and that he was and remains confident of his negative status based on numerous test results.
Blyden, who is fully vaccinated, took a rapid antigen test at the V.I. Legislature on the morning of Tuesday, September 14th and again later that day at the Department of Health, and both of them showed positive. However, three different rapid tests, administered at home, showed negative results on September 16th, 17th and 18th. One of the tests shows an erroneous date of July 16, 2021 instead of September 16th. "Based on those results," Senator Blyden said, "I realized that either there had been some false positives on Tuesday, or that I had been an asymptomatic person who had already gone through the course of the disease and was in the very last days of the virus when I was tested on Tuesday. Anyone who knows me knows that that I am a workaholic, and that I simply don't do well sitting down idle at home. I had a meeting scheduled for Saturday night with some potential investors who had already flown down for the meeting, and I let my desire for economic development opportunities for our people overcome my better judgement and common sense. Regardless of what I believed or even knew, I should have followed the guidelines set by the Department of Health and the CDC. Plain and simple, regardless of my intentions, my actions were wrong. I am deeply sorry, and I humbly apologize to the people of the Virgin Islands.
But let there be no mistake. Although I acknowledge and apologize for my error in violating the isolation guidelines, I want to make it clear that at no time did I act in a manner that I believed would endanger the public or any individual. I proceeded based on the knowledge of having negative test results on three consecutive days.
I am not a stranger to you, and the people of this community know my heart. You know that I love the Virgin Islands and its people. You also know that I take this virus seriously and have been at the forefront of legislative and community efforts to address this pandemic. You may even remember that back in February of last year, I was the first elected official in the Virgin Islands to bring attention to this virus and to call for a public hearing to organize a community response. As such, I believe you know that I would never knowingly do something that would harm anyone in this community.
Like many of us, I succumbed to 'pandemic fatigue' and I made a terrible error, but I in no way meant to harm anyone, or to minimize the importance of doing everything that we can to protect ourselves and each other. I know how many people have lost family members and friends to this terrible disease, and I know that countless others have been impacted by this disease, physically, emotionally, economically and in so many other ways. I am in this struggle with you, and I pray that this episode will be a teaching moment for all of us, as it has been for me. We cannot, as individuals or as a society, afford to be careless, to let down our guard or to become weary. I committed this error, I apologize for it, and pledge to grow and learn from it. I also ask your forgiveness and your support as we continue to work together for a better quality of life for all Virgin Islanders."