The Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. will be implementing quarantine protocols dependent on a patient’s symptom status.
If an individual tests positive and is asymptomatic (showing no symptoms of COVID-19), then self-quarantine for 10 days is an option offered to them, provided they can safely self-isolate. If an individual decides that they cannot safely self-quarantine (e.g., they live with a family member who has underlying health conditions or is immunocompromised), isolation at the designated government facility will be an option offered.
If an individual tests positive and is symptomatic (showing signs of symptoms of COVID-19), then the individual will be isolated for 10 days at the designated government facility.
For close contacts of confirmed positive cases, their COVID-19 vaccination status will be considered. After being identified as a close contact, fully vaccinated close contacts will be tested as soon as possible, will not be ordered to quarantine of any kind, and must return for their fifth-day test. If their test returns positive for COVID-19, they will go through the process of being confirmed as a positive case.
Unvaccinated close contacts will be tested as soon as possible, will be ordered to self-quarantine, and must return for their fifth-day test. If their test returns positive for COVID-19, they will go through the process of being confirmed as a positive case.
These changes are being implemented since approximately 93.1% of the CNMI’s adult population are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and approximately 91% of its 12-year-old and older population are fully vaccinated, combined with the expansion of Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shot eligibility to 16- and 17-year-olds.
The CHCC highly encourages unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated or get a booster shot against COVID-19 to help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Data from small clinical trials show that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection is waning after the primary series, but protection remains high against severe disease and hospitalization. Register for COVID-19 vaccination at www.vaccinatecnmi.com.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms like coughing, fever, shortness of breath, or new loss of taste or smell, get checked by a health care provider right away, or call the CHCC Tele- Triage line (670) 233-2067 if you do not have a provider.
If you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and it has been 5 to 7 days since your exposure to a person who may have COVID-19, avail of the free DFEMS antigen testing (Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, 8am-4pm, at Kagman, Garapan, or Susupe fire stations) or the free community-based testing (register at https://covidtesting.chcc.health; more dates will be announced).
While you wait to get tested or get your test results, follow the 3 W’s (wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance), stay at home as much as possible, and limit your contact with others.
Additional U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on how to protect yourself and others include: avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces; cover coughs and sneezes; clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily; be alert for symptoms daily; and get tested for COVID-19. (PR)