‘Level 1 is more difficult to achieve in a pandemic’

Posted on Aug 20 2020

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowering the CNMI’s risk of exposure to Level 2, which means travelers to the CNMI have a “moderate risk” of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, it is unlikely to get to Level 1, according to Esther Muña, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s chief executive officer.

Speaking at a radio news briefing last Tuesday, Muña said, “Level 1 would have been obviously more difficult to achieve and in a pandemic…so we are Level 2.”

A Level 1 designation means CDC considers an area’s COVID-19 risk to be low.

This comes soon after CDC issued a health advisory for travelers where they designated each country’s risk for COVID-19. The CNMI was initially declared a high-risk zone, together with other Pacific nations, but has since lowered the CNMI’s risk level after the CNMI protested the earlier designation.

Based on its assessment, there are a handful of countries that are considered Level 1. According to CDC’s official website, there are only seven countries/islands where the risk of COVID-19 is low and these include: Fiji, New Zealand, Thailand, Sint Eustatius (Caribbean Netherlands), Bonaire (Caribbean Netherlands), Saint Barthelemy(Lesser Antilles in the Eastern Caribbean Sea), and Saba (Caribbean Netherlands).

Separately, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres credits the CNMI’s low infection numbers to the collaborative effort of everyone in the CNMI. “I continue to say that our success is not just [because of] the [Governor’s COVID-19] Task Force, not just [because of] our CEO, not just [because of] me or the lieutenant governor. It’s a collaborative effort. …We will not be where we are at if we don’t have the community join this fight,” he said.

Torres said that everyone is fighting for the same thing, which is to not have a community outbreak, and that restrictions that are being implemented can only be successful if everyone in the community abides by them.

“If we impose curfew, you in the community have a choice. Do you want to follow the curfew and be safe, or you want to go against the curfew? So if we as a community take these restrictions seriously, especially seeing more cases now, then we are all fighting for the same cause,” said Torres.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.