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2nd suspected COVID-19 turns up negative

Posted on Mar 09 2020

The second specimen that the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. sent to a laboratory in Hawaii has been confirmed negative for COVID-19.

In a statement that CHCC released last March 5, it said that the patient in this case was considered a suspect of “low priority” since he or she did not meet the full U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definition of a COVID-19 infection. Still, just to be on the safe side, CHCC sent a specimen sample to the Hawaii laboratory as a precautionary measure to protect the community.

CHCC saw its first suspected case of a COVID-19 infection last Feb. 10 and submitted a specimen for testing to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia. The patient was a suspect of low priority and did not meet the CDC case definition of COVID-19.

Eleven days later, CHCC received confirmation from CDC that the sample tested negative for the coronavirus. According to Zoe Travis, CHCC spokesperson, the CNMI still remains COVID-19-free.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, Travis stated that CHCC will continue to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the community and that they are readily prepared should the CNMI see its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

Travis also advises the community to continue to be cautious and protect yourself and others against this virus and other illnesses. Common symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath/difficulty breathing.

If you have a symptom, even if you know that it’s not coronavirus and not sure what it is, it is still advised that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or used an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue and properly dispose of it, and clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces frequently.

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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