2 more test positive

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Posted on Jun 10 2020

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Two more persons have been added to the CNMI’s count of COVID-19 infections, raising the CNMI’s total to 30. It was not immediately known if the new positive cases were the result of the mass testing at the airport or arriving passengers that are currently at the quarantine site at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan.

This was based on a statement on the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s Facebook page; it said that more details will be made available soon in the official press release. Of these 30 confirmed cases, seven were identified through testing at the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force Quarantine Facility.

The CNMI has been seeing an increase in its number of positive coronavirus infections since two weeks ago, when Gov. Ralph DLG Torres eased the restrictions on businesses and curfew last May 26 but Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña said that that’s to be expected because the CNMI is testing more people and because of its effective surveillance. This means the number of cases will eventually go up, she added.

The CNMI has had a total of 60,000 test kits and the mass testing at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport continues, so there’re no questions as to why there has been many cases of individuals who are asymptomatic popping up, she said. This is on top of the CNMI having an isolation facility for people who have contracted COVID-19 and persons under investigation, plus a quarantine facility for arriving passengers.

Muña added that there is no correlation between easing of restrictions and having more testing capabilities that are available.

Muña pointed out that the mass testing is primarily intended for surveillance and CHCC is not using it for diagnostic, which means the Commonwealth Health Center is not chiefly involved, but once you identify individuals who are asymptomatic and symptomatic, the number of cases will go up.

“It’s about containment. You have better chances of containing it by having that surveillance available,” said Muña.

Ideally, the mass testing—referred to by the CNMI government as community-based testing—is intended to identify individuals who are asymptomatic, and to save their lives by catching the infection and then containing them before they exhibit actual symptoms. Individuals who are asymptomatic show no symptoms of COVID-19.

Muña stated that because symptoms are likely to show up on the fifth day of an infection, this is why in-bound passengers get tested on their fifth day of arrival and not on the day of their arrival. Additionally, there’s no limit for an individual to get tested for COVID-19.

To date, the CNMI has a total of 28 confirmed cases, with 19 recoveries, two deaths, and seven active cases.

COVID-19 in Guam

One new case of COVID-19 was reported to the Department of Public Health and Social Services in Guam last June 8. According to the Joint Information Center in Guam, the case was identified through screening at the Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo and was asymptomatic at the time of testing.

COVID-19 test results are reported from multiple labs at varying times of the day. Cumulative test results are provided once all tests are finalized.

To date, Guam has 180 confirmed cases, with five deaths, 163 released from isolation, and 12 active cases.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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