‘Containment is the goal moving forward’

Posted on Nov 24 2021

The emergence of 98 new COVID-19 cases is concerning, said Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther L. Muña, but the CNMI’s health leaders will continue to move forward with its focus on vaccinations, community-based testing, and containing the further spread of COVID-19.

During a virtual news briefing yesterday, Muña said her main message is that COVID-19 is “definitely here” the goal moving forward is containment and that combatting the virus is a community effort.

“The numbers are large, and it is concerning for all of us as well…so we are really urging individuals who have not gotten vaccinated to get vaccinated. …The message that we’re trying to convey today is that COVID is definitely here. We have these cases that we’re trying to contain, and [containment] will be our goal moving forward,” said Muña.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s COVID-19 vaccination site at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center will be open this week except on Thursday, which is Thanksgiving Day. The site will be open on Friday and Saturday. On a normal week, the site is open from Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 4pm. Registering for vaccination can be done on vaccinatecnmi.com or over the phone at 670-682-SHOT (7468).

Muña said that vaccination outreaches to get target populations vaccinated are in the works. “There is going to be some outreach that we’re working [on] with the vaccination team to try to bring the vaccinations to them, and we’re [doing that] so that we can get more people vaccinated,” she said.

Muña also asked the community to continue practicing the “3 W’s”: wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear a face covering. Muña reiterated that the high number of unvaccinated individuals in the CNMI remains a concern and that she and CHCC want to further increase the CNMI’s immunity against COVID-19, in workplaces in particular, to get people back to work.

“We want to contain [COVID-19] and have more immunity for our population. …We want to see [more people] vaccinated in a workplace so that people can continue their work and not [be distracted by business closures] because someone has been detected as positive,” she said.

Muña expressed gratitude to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, governor’s authorized representative Patrick Guerrero, the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and its chairman, Warren F. Villagomez, for their work and support in the CNMI’s efforts against COVID-19. She added that the CNMI has been getting “good support” so far from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well.

Muña said there will be more vaccine outreaches and expansions to community-based testing are in the works. She said that now is the perfect time to further expand CBT as the new travel protocols implemented since Nov. 19 allow the CNMI’s health leaders to place more focus on community testing.

“Because of the new [arrival protocols], we are able to expand even further. We’re moving forward with…containing the situation right now,” she said.

In an email yesterday, CHCC public information officer Guillermo Lifoifoi said that CHCC is “here to treat those who are COVID-19 positive” and asked those with COVID-19-related symptoms to call CHCC’s Tele-Triage line at 670-233-2067 or to get checked by their primary health care provider. Lifoifoi added that CHCC’s contact tracing team will call you if you are identified as a high-risk contact of a known positive case.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.
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