Another traveler tested positive for the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease upon arriving on Saipan yesterday, increasing the CNMI’s cumulative total to 62 confirmed cases.
According to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the individual was identified through travel screening and was confirmed through testing upon arrival. The individual was then brought to the Kanoa Resort in Susupe.
CHCC is already doing contact tracing of those who were in close contact with the newly confirmed case; that includes passengers on the same flight, close family members, and friends.
In an interview with CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña, she said that a COVID-19 vaccine that is being promoted as becoming available on Nov. 1 doesn’t necessarily mean it will be “available.” It’s just a start, she said, which means that there’s a process on who’s a priority.
Muña stated that they’re working on what’s safe and effective and that vaccines will be distributed first to healthcare workers and the most vulnerable populations who are identified as a priority, and it will only be after that when it will be distributed to everyone else. Right now, Muña said there are still talks if people who have already tested positive will receive a vaccine.
Muña said that CHCC is also participating in weekly meetings with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and these provide CHCC a sense of direction of what’s going to come next.
Saipan won’t be the only one to receive the vaccine, Muña said. Tinian and Rota will also be receiving it. CHCC is still in the planning stage and preparing for when they’re ready to distribute it once it becomes widely available.
Right now, mass testing in the CNMI has been temporarily suspended until further notice.
As of Sept. 14, 2020, the CNMI has collected 19,345 specimens for COVID-19 tests on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. This is approximately 34% of the CNMI’s population.