One more tests positive

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Posted on Aug 10 2020
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One more passenger from a U.S. territory has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus upon arriving in the CNMI last Aug 8, boosting the CNMI’s overall number of cases to 48.

According to a statement from the COVID-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the person is now safely in quarantine and was moved to the designated isolation site, the Kanoa Resort in Susupe, where CHCC will be able to keep a close eye on him/her.

CHCC has already initiated contact tracing for the new patient’s most immediate contacts, which include passengers on the same flight, close family members, and friends

Of the CNMI’s total 48 cases, half of them, 24, have been identified through port-of-entry screening procedures and, of that number, 19 cases originated from the U.S. mainland, three from a foreign country, and two from U.S. territories.

Also, in response to reports of Vietnam seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases after having gone 99 days with no cases and with reports that quoted professionals as saying that the virus has mutated, making it more deadly than it already is, Warren Villagomez, head of the task force, says that it is a concern because, like the CNMI, Vietnam is also a “low-risk” country.

“It is something that we’re looking closely because Vietnam is part of a low-risk country at one point but, with this spike and the mutation that’s happening, it is a concern for everyone in Asia right now,” he said.

Villagomez assured that the task force and CHCC are closely monitoring developments in the Asian region. “We will keep everyone posted on this because,” he said.

“Again, it’s [COVID-19] is not going away, we need to be careful. …We’ve mentioned about the false negative, and that’s why we have these three W’s in place,” said Esther Muña, CHCC chief executive officer, referring to the rule to wash one’s hands, wear a mask, and wait at a 6-foot distance.

Muña reiterated that the COVID-19 test has a chance of showing a false negative or false positive, thus the need to abide by the rules. She said their pathologist at the Commonwealth Health Center reviews the results and, if at times when there is a concern, the pathologist’s decision would be declared as “false positive” versus a “false negative.”
“But the staff that are with the equipment…do quality checks before we do the testing. So of course, there’s a chance [of false results] but, at this point right now, with our staff that are with the pathologists, our scientists that are working upstairs, they’re doing an excellent job to try to avoid that,” said Muña.

Justine Nauta
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.
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