Stricter restrictions may be reimposed as NMI reports 54th Covid-19 case

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres said some restrictions, including an extension of the curfew hours, may be reimposed if more community transmission cases are reported.

During a press briefing on KKMP, Torres said he will be looking at the information from the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force and consulting with them before making any decision.

In March, Torres declared a state of public health emergency and issued “Stay at Home, Slow the Spread” guidelines, which included strict curfew hours.

He said he will not hesitate to do it  again to safeguard the health of the public.

In June, the CNMI lowered its community vulnerability level to Blue from Yellow. Restaurants were allowed to offer dine-in services at 50% of their maximum capacity.

Other businesses were permitted to reopen with safety measures in place. Churches were allowed to reopen with limited attendance.

New case

On Tuesday, the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. announced that another individual had been confirmed positive for Covid-19, bringing the CNMI case count to 54.

The individual was identified through contact tracing of a recently confirmed case, Case No. 50, CHCC said, adding that it continues to investigate these cases.

“CHCC indicates that these findings underscore the value of rapid field investigation, which relies heavily on the truthfulness of the community.

“The individual has been moved to the designated isolation area for close monitoring.

“CHCC has already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts of the newly confirmed case.”

Of the total 54 confirmed cases, 10 cases have been identified as a community contact, 16 cases have  identified as a known contact, and 28 cases have been identified through port of entry screening procedures in accordance with the CNMI Covid-19 Emergency Directives, the Office of the Governor stated.

It added that of the 28 confirmed cases identified through travel screening, 20 cases originated from the U.S. mainland, five from a U.S. territory, and three from a foreign country.

CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said case numbers 50 and 54 were community transmission.

“Our contact tracing team is doing their investigation,” she reiterated. “It will require a lot of truthfulness for those being interviewed to get to the bottom of this.”

Muna is urging community members to cooperate so CHCC and the task force can determine where the transmission came from.

“Our goal here is to contain the spread of this virus. We are not here to threaten anyone or put anyone in jail. The bottom-line is we are here as a community…and we need everyone’s help to ensure that we do this right,” she said.

Muna said CHCC and the Covid-19 Task Force will also discuss with the governor the possibility of implementing stricter directives, including an extension of the quarantine period.

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