‘The best gift you can give your family is their safety, health, and protection’
Christmas Day is right around the corner, and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther L. Muña says it is still possible to reduce one’s COVID-19 risk in social gatherings.
Muña urged the community last Friday to reconsider their planned gatherings, but if you choose to go through with holding a gathering, she advises taking into account one’s safety and the safety of others.
If possible, Muña advises holding gatherings outdoors. If this is not possible, or if a gathering needs to be indoors, she advises limiting the number of guests, opening windows to ensure proper ventilation, wearing a face covering, and rearranging furniture to ensure social distancing.
For gatherings where guests will sit down and eat together, Muña advised reducing direct, unmasked face-to-face conversations with others as much as possible. If there will be a buffet, Muña recommended having hand sanitizer and disposable gloves readily available.
Muña said the CNMI’s active hospitalizations are of great concern to her and CHCC, and that the pattern being observed thus far is that COVID-19 transmission is taking place during social gatherings and in households.
“It is very concerning for us with this high number of hospitalizations. We want everyone to please reconsider [their social gatherings]. The patterns that we’re seeing with these cases [is] that it is happening in social gatherings, it is happening within the household, it is happening with loved ones,” she said.
As of Dec. 19, there are 12 active hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19. By vaccination status, seven are unvaccinated and five vaccinated. Two of the 12 are on a ventilator, and four patients have already been discharged.
Muña acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought hardships to all and that the holiday season is a time to gather and celebrate, but again emphasized the importance of keeping you and your loved ones safe.
“We know that it’s a time of celebration and it’s probably something you haven’t done in quite a while [and] we can be creative and we can do it safely. …The best gift you can give to your family is their safety, health, and protection, and this is really the time to do it, especially [with] the patterns that we’re seeing so we can reduce our cases, but mainly prevent hospitalizations,” she said.