Three more passengers have tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, bringing the CNMI’s total number of confirmed cases to 45.
The 43rd case was confirmed last Saturday, Aug. 1, while cases No. 44 and No. 45 were confirmed yesterday, Aug. 2. The 43rd case is a returning resident that was identified through the travelers’ screening protocol. The 44th and 45th cases are also returning residents, but were identified on the fifth day after arriving on Saipan.
According to Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force statement, all affected individuals are safely in quarantine and are in the designated isolating area where the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. can monitor them. Also, CHCC has conducted initial contact tracing for the individuals’ most immediate contact, which includes passengers on the same flight, family members, friends, and associates.
Of the 21 cases that have been confirmed positive through travel screening, 18 of them are from the U.S., while one of them is from a U.S. territory.
Also, Warren Villagomez, who heads the COVID-19 task force, emphasized that they don’t want to promote any use of alcohol or drugs at the quarantine sites, which is why the task force has been limiting food and alcohol from being delivered to the residents that are in quarantine at Kanoa Resort in Susupe.
Villagomez added that it’s in their policy that drugs and alcohol are not allowed in the quarantine site. He added that if an individual is caught with alcohol or drugs, there will be consequences.
“It’s not about being in prison, it’s not about limiting their freedom, but when you allow alcohol, you’re setting uncontrolled guidelines,” Villagomez said. “We really see it as another risk to the process. We want to have a safe…process. So, you know, we don’t want to be dealing with situations that’s not necessary.”
He pointed out that the revised protocol requires only a five-day quarantine and will only become longer if a person’s test turns positive.
Under the protocol, all arriving passengers are immediately brought to the quarantine site and are tested. They are again tested on the fifth day of their stay.