With the continued rise of positive cases of COVID-19 in the CNMI, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther L. Muña continues to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing a face covering.
During a virtual news briefing Monday, Muña said that what she and CHCC are currently seeing is that it is the unvaccinated individuals who are experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19 while vaccinated individuals, though testing positive, experience less severe symptoms. As such, Muña urges community members who have not received been vaccinated to consider doing so.
Right now, there are six individuals who are hospitalized in the CNMI for COVID-19, with , five of them being unvaccinated. None of the individuals are on a ventilator, CHCC reported.
Last Monday, there were four active hospitalizations, all four being unvaccinated individuals, and two individuals under observation at CHCC’s Alternative Care Site.
Muña said that, at this point in time, she and CHCC is seeing widespread transmission of COVID-19. However, Muña added that she and CHCC are also seeing how COVID-19 vaccines work and how being vaccinated prevents most from contracting severe COVID-19-related illnesses.
“[COVID-19 transmission is] already widespread; we can already see that. It’s not targeted against a population, it’s not targeted against one congregation, we’re seeing it all around. But we are also seeing [how] vaccination works…with preventing hospitalizations and severe illness,” she said.
Muña added that CHCC has also been looking at the recent turnout at vaccination sites and said that the numbers as of late were like what CHCC was seeing when it first rolled out COVID-19 vaccines. On top of getting vaccinated, Muña also urges community members to wear a face covering when meeting with others.
As part of a news release Tuesday, CHCC reported that 519 vaccines were administered on Nov. 29. According to the vaccinatecnmi.com dashboard, as of Tuesday, 36,628 individuals, or 86.4% of the CNMI’s eligible population, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“To see that …individuals are coming in, hearing our call, [and getting] vaccinated, we appreciate that, but we also want to continue to ask people to mask up [because] the most vulnerable time when you can get infected is really with hanging out with your friends and your families,” said Muña.
The regular reports of double-digit cases of COVID-19 remain a concern, but Muña assures that CHCC’s contact tracing team identifies, isolates, and tests persons of interest quickly and that adequate medical attention is available at these isolation sites for the individuals that need it.