COVID-19 carriers found to have had alpha, delta variants

Posted on Sep 10 2021

Two COVID-19 specimens that the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. had sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for review were found to be the delta and alpha variants.

This was learned during a virtual news briefing that CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña held Wednesday, during which she said that, given the long turnaround time from CHCC submitting specimens to the CDC and the CDC identifying what COVID-19 variants the CNMI had found, Muña said the CNMI’s health policy leaders’ approach to combating COVID-19 is centered around prevention, and that they treat every positive case “like it’s the delta variant.”

“What we’re doing here in the CNMI is prevention, preventing [COVID-19] from entering the community. …We need to continue emphasizing the need to put on masks…[and] again we’re urging individuals to make the choice to get vaccinated,” said Muña.

“It does take awhile to get results from the CDC and, of course, the CNMI is not the only one that they’re looking at. …Right now, we’re in a position where we’re saying, ‘Every case that comes in we’re going to treat it like it’s a delta variant’. We’re going to operate that way just to be able to make sure that we protect the CNMI,” Muña added.

Learned separately from a CHCC representative Wednesday, the second delta specimen was from an individual identified through arrival testing in late June. The person was not counted toward the CNMI’s total, as they were already identified and counted as a positive case in Florida.

Muña explained Wednesday that CHCC sends batches of refrigerated specimens directly to CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia for review. While in transit, the specimens are placed in cooler boxes. Once collected and reviewed by the CDC, it reports back to CHCC its findings, such as what COVID-19 variants individuals were carrying.

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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