UNLESS INDIVIDUAL MEETS CRITERIA

Self-quarantine is discontinued

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Posted on Jul 23 2020
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With the CNMI’s recent positive COVID-19 cases coming from newly arrived passengers from Guam, it has been decided to discontinue self-quarantine procedures, unless the individual meets the criteria to have the choice of self-quarantine.

That “unless,” said Esther Muña, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s chief executive officer, means that CHCC’s health representative will determine if you are allowed to self-quarantine. She did not elaborate.

Additionally, all passengers, including returning residents, are still required to be tested on the first and fifth day upon arrival. Although returning residents may be able to provide a polymerase chain reaction test that has been done within three to six days, they are still tested upon their first and fifth day upon arrival, Muña said at the news briefing last July 17.

The former Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi is due to become the government’s new quarantine facility starting today. It used to be the Pacific Islands Club Saipan but that contract has already expired.

According to the new COVID-19 public guidance for incoming passengers that became effective last July 9, all incoming passengers must complete the following to be exempted from the CNMI government’s quarantine facility, which includes:

Valid PCR test within three to six days prior to arriving on island; it will be reviewed by a CNMI health representative.

The PCR test result must be in English and have:

The name of the traveler

Name of the processing laboratory

Specimen collection date

Indication that the PCR test was conducted and the test itself

The Sara Alert Symptom Monitoring System allows CNMI public health representatives to enroll and follow up with individuals at risk of developing a COVID-19 infection. Enrolled individuals can report daily on any symptoms they are having to reduce transmission and exposure in our community. If you are non-responsive or report any symptoms, a CNMI health representative will contact you and provide further instruction.

There will be exemptions, though. “Whether it’s Federal Emergency Medical Agency response, medical doctors, nurses that are transporting patients…in response to any disaster. …While there is a situation where there is an emergency, you have critical workers that need to come in and do their job,” said Muña.

That these individuals can be exempted from being quarantined so that they can do their work but they still have to provide a PCR test and fill out the CNMI mandatory health declaration three days prior to arriving. She also stated that if they don’t come with a test, they will be tested upon arrival and sent to the quarantine site to wait for the result and once it is clear, they are allowed to go out and do their work.

As far as testing goes for Tinian and Rota, Muña said that they are working to have both islands confirm their swabs on their islands instead of sending it to the Commonwealth Health Center on Saipan. No further information was given.

Warren Villagomez, who heads the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, said that the process that’s in place has been working, and the same goes with the neighboring islands of Rota and Tinian.

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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