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NMI doing well to prevent Covid-19 spread, but still at risk, says health chief 

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ALTHOUGH the CNMI is doing well in keeping the community safe from an outbreak of Covid-19, the islands are still at risk “as long as there are travelers coming in,” Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther L. Muna said.

During a press briefing on KKMP radio Tuesday, Muna said, “in a way, we are practicing the things that have been described or prescribed for Level Green.”

The CNMI is currently at Level Blue. Green is the safest in the community vulnerability chart and two rungs from Yellow and Orange, which was the level when the CNMI went into semi-lockdown early this year.

Muna said it is still all about practicing the three W’s — wash your hands; watch your distance; and wear a face covering.

“I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of the three W’s because as long as there are travelers who basically bring in the risk, and we have noticed that the numbers coming in are from the travelers, we [must] continue to do the 3 W’s,” Muna said.

According to the CNMI government’s economic recovery plan, Level Green is reached when more than half of the CNMI resident population has been tested; the levels of positive cases for Covid-19 have not exceeded the threshold; and partial resumption of tourism flights has not created unnecessary risk to public health and safety.

But even at Level Green, the plan states, “restrictions remain in place until the governor rescinds the emergency declaration for the Commonwealth.”

Muna said dine-ins are already allowed in restaurants, but “of course there are limitations.”

“We just want to be careful. One case is really detrimental for the CNMI,” she added.

Muna said it was very fortunate that the recent cases did not require hospitalization, which means that the individuals did not have symptoms.

“We did monitor them — they presented no symptoms and that is the reason why they got on the plane in the first place because they didn’t feel like they’re sick, but unfortunately we found the virus [upon their arrival on island],” she said.

CHCC and the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force will continue to work with the community to prevent the spread of the virus in the CNMI.

Right now, she added, “the participation of everyone has really been successful.”

The World Health Organization dash board  indicates that of the 77 cases recorded in the CNMI since March, 44 were travel-related and 26 were community acquired.

The dash board also shows that 59 of the 77 cases have recovered, 16 are active and two died.

WHO also reported that of the individuals tested, including suspected cases, recovered cases and contacts, 21,362 tested negative.

In the Pacific Islands, French Polynesia as of Tuesday surpassed Guam in the number of Covid-19 cases.

With 37 new positive cases, French Polynesia yesterday logged a total of 3,251 cases while Guam recorded 3,170.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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