6 test positive for COVID-19

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Posted on Sep 21 2020

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Six incoming travelers tested positive upon arriving on Saipan last Sept. 20, making this the highest single-day increase in the CNMI and raising the CNMI’s total number of positive cases to 68.

According to a Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. statement, all individuals were identified through travel screening and were confirmed positive through testing upon arrival. They have all been brought to the quarantine site at the Kanoa Resort in Susupe where they will be monitored.

CHCC has also initiated contact tracing for the six’s immediate contacts such as passengers on the same flight. When asked if this was a family or not, both CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muna, and Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez did not comment.

Mass testing in the CNMI was also temporarily suspended last Sept. 18 until further notice. As of Sept. 14, a total of 19,345 specimens have been collected on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

Muña said the suspension is necessary so that there is more focus on other areas of concern within the community. She added there are still chronic diseases that need medical attention and treatment and staff need to also focus on what’s going on within the hospital and not solely on COVID-19.

She stated that their intention is to not just focus on community-based testing as a priority, but also on what’s helping the community because the community has a lot of needs and CHCC has to be there.

Speaking at his radio news briefing last Sept. 18, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres thanked the community for cooperating and working hard to ensure that the CNMI remains a safe place.

“We’re all fighting COVID-19 together, not against each other,” he said, citing this as one of the biggest factors why the COVID-19 numbers in the CNMI have been low and adding that even if it’s not a perfect system, “we’re all still fighting against COVID-19.”

COVID-19 in Guam

Two more people fell victim to COVID-19 in Guam last Friday.

The Joint Information Center in Guam reported that Guam’s 32nd and 33rd COVID-19-related fatalities occurred last Sept. 18.
The 32nd case was a 92-year-old female with underlying health conditions and passed away at the Guam Memorial Hospital. She was admitted to GMH on Aug. 27 and tested positive for COVID-19 upon admission.

The 33rd case was a 56-year-old female with underlying health conditions who passed away at the Guam Regional Medical City. She was admitted to GRMC earlier that day and was a known COVID-19 positive case.

“Our island suffers from each passing, and making these announcements will always be difficult for me. We are reminded of the fragility of life and are forced to confront our mortality.Losing a loved one is always hard and the pain is incomprehensible. Not only did this virus take them away from us, [but] it has [also] taken away moments they should have shared with their family and friends beside them,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “[First gentleman] Jeff [Cook], Lt. Gov. Josh [Tenorio], and I express our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families who have lost so much. You remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

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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