Effective today, June 18, 2021, the CNMI will move to Level Green in the five-color Community Vulnerability risk scale.
Level Green corresponds to a COVID-19 Rating between 1.80 and 2.00 or greater. At this level, the levels of positive cases for COVID-19 and the risk to public health are low as long as points of entry mitigation continues as necessary and until the governor rescinds the emergency declaration for the Commonwealth.
In line with this change, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force have issued new guidance in terms of mask-wearing, vaccinations, and building occupancies, among other protocols.
As of June 17, 2021, 72.7% of the adult population already had their first dose and 66.4% of the 12 and older population had already had their first dose. A total of 25,454 individuals or 60.1% of the 12-and-older population have already been fully vaccinated. The goal is to reach at least 80% or more.
“I want to thank all our federal and local partners, our businesses, our [Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.] CEO Esther Muna, our [Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force chair] Warren Villagomez, our first responders, and our doctors and nurses for their hard work and collaboration, as well as our entire community for their patience and support,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in a statement yesterday.
“For more than a year, the challenge of keeping everyone safe was not easy, but together we successfully made the CNMI one of the safest places in the world, and it is recognized by our federal partners, our source markets, and our regional counterparts. Let us continue to be vigilant and safe and work together as we move forward in this next step towards true normalcy,” he added.
“I want everyone in our community to know that since the start of the pandemic, our priority was always to ensure everyone was protected by mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the CNMI,” said Muña.
“With the milestone achievements of fully vaccinated CNMI residents, I want to reassure you that our priority has not changed with this new guideline. I urge all organization leaders to continue to exercise caution with this new normal and that if you’re unsure of the vaccine status, then strengthen your safety measures to protect those who have not had their COVID-19 vaccines or who might have a health condition that makes them vulnerable to severe coronavirus infection. Let’s all strive to achieve the goal of 80% of our eligible population being fully vaccinated,” she added.
The Green color classification entails three levels, depending on the vaccination rate (less than 60%, more than 60%, and 80% vaccination rate). Right now, the CNMI is at 60.1%. The Office of the Governor issued revisions to the health protocols but there was no immediate word on the curfew (2am to 4am), whether it is still in effect or already rescinded.
Last May, Torres unveiled the CNMI Economic Recovery Plan, using color codes to determine the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Level (Red as least safe; Orange; Yellow; Blu; and Green as safest). The numbers of tests completed were aggregated and based upon the testing statistics provided by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Covid-19 Task Force.
The last rating of Blue was announced in September 2020. No rating was announced thereafter as fewer individuals found the need to get tested when community cases were limited to a cluster case that occurred in March 2021.
To date, cases are continuously detected and contained at the CNMI’s ports of entry. The CNMI’s total cases as of June 15, 2021, is 183 with an overall positivity rate of 0.1%, far below most other U.S. jurisdictions. Since the first detection of COVID-19 in the CNMI, two have died and four were hospitalized.
While the CNMI did not have a mask mandate, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CHCC, and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force emphasized the importance of the 3W’s of wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching your distance successfully to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Current guidance from CDC stresses that if one is fully vaccinated, masks are to be worn when required by the location or jurisdiction. Determining who is vaccinated can be difficult and therefore some restrictions must remain until CNMI reaches herd immunity of 80% and greater.
– Fully vaccinated people are able to participate in outdoor and indoor activities, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
– Unvaccinated individuals should remain cautious and continue to wear face masks and practice social distancing at all times, especially when in the company of others who are not vaccinated and those whose vaccinations cannot be verified
– All entities are permitted up to 100% occupancy if vaccination completion is verifiable, and 75% if not verifiable. Entities should enforce social distancing precautions and promote the wearing of face masks, when vaccinations are not verified or when customers are from a different household.
– Community events are under strict social distancing parameters and reduced occupancy if vaccinations are not verifiable.
– Indoor gatherings of people from different households of less than 150 people are permitted throughout the Commonwealth if vaccination completion is not verifiable.
– Indoor/Outdoor gatherings of 100% fully vaccinated individuals are permitted throughout the Commonwealth and as long as vaccination is verifiable.
Source: Office of the Governor