‘Delta variant news was not intended to scare people’

Posted on Aug 09 2021

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s issuance of a press statement last Friday about a COVID-19 case of a delta variant in the CNMI was not intended to scare people but was part of a broader effort for CHCC’s medical staff to maintain open conversations with the community about concerns with COVID-19 vaccines, according to CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña.

In a virtual news briefing last Friday, Muña also explained the importance of being vaccinated, and said the individual who tested positive and was later found to have been carrying the delta variant has since been “considered recovered.”

Muña explained that the delta variant is a highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 that has “gotten smarter” and attaches to vaccinated individuals, and could possibly mutate and form other, even more transmissible variants.

However, Muña explained, being fully vaccinated mostly protects individuals from severe illnesses and increases the body’s defense against current and future COVID-19 variants.

“We didn’t put out [news about] the delta variant to scare people. The fact of the matter is it’s a problem if we don’t have immunity in this community. …I get it. People are worried, people have questions. We are here for you to answer those questions. Our medical staff have reached out, [and] they’re open to have a conversation on what [are] your [doubts] about these vaccines,” said Muña.

In the CHCC press release that announced the discovery of the delta variant in the CNMI, CHCC said that “there is no current risk to the public.” Muña assured Friday that this is still the case, saying that the individual was quarantined at the time, and was “considered recovered” after a 14-day incubation period where CHCC closely monitored the individual for possible symptoms. Muña said the individual was released after this incubation period, citing studies done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that determined that individuals are considered not infectious after a 14-day incubation period.

Muña continues to emphasize the importance of being vaccinated. The CNMI’s current goal is to reach 80% of its eligible population being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and is the main goal of the vaccination campaign Road to 80. Muña, however, believes that vaccination numbers should not stop there—the higher the number of vaccinated people, the better.

“We are urging individuals to [help us on the] Road to 80. …We might even have to go even to the point where 85 or even 90% [of the CNMI is vaccinated], because more people vaccinated in the CNMI is the best protection for the entire community,” said Muña.

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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