Residents urged to wear masks indoors
Effective today, Aug. 3, the CNMI will be reimplementing the rule that requires all arriving travelers to undergo COVID-19 tests, in light of recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the highly infectious delta variant.
In a news statement late afternoon yesterday, the Office of the Governor said the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force are implementing on-arrival PCR screening tests for all inbound travelers.
“CHCC and our COVID-19 Task Force are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 delta variant and its threat to the CNMI,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. “While we have not had a reported case of the delta variant on our islands yet, we continue to screen inbound passengers in order to protect our people, which we have successfully done. We continue to encourage our community to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors and in public places.”
The statement quotes CHCC chief executive officer Esther L. Muña as saying that the COVID-19 delta variant’s increased transmissibility underscores the need to screen inbound travelers on arrival and for residents to continue practicing the 3 Ws (wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance).
“But the best tool against this pandemic is the COVID-19 vaccination. If you are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, get vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community,” she added.
CHCC is urging CNMI residents to continue practicing the 3 Ws, especially wearing masks indoors and around individuals whose vaccination status is unknown. Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 are the best steps to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Fully vaccinated travelers are able to quarantine with “restriction of movement,” or ROM, in the lodging of their choice after being verified for completing their COVID-19 vaccination (“vax verified”) and passing a lodging or household assessment. After notification of a negative result from arrival testing, “vax verified” travelers will have a modified ROM, which permits work and essential movement only with strict adherence to practicing the 3 Ws (wearing a mask in all public spaces) until they test negative on their fifth-day test.
CHCC and the COVID-19 Task Force can further modify ROM, depending on the ability to maintain social distancing inside the workplace, on the exposure risk to an identified positive case, or as deemed necessary.
A total of 2,296 travelers were tested on arrival since the start of the “vax verified” release program. Of this number, three tested positive on Day 5 and were asymptomatic. Contact tracing yielded two persons who were deemed high risk contacts, but tested negative for COVID-19 and were asymptomatic.
The six positive cases announced on Aug. 1 did not report any COVID-19 vaccination. They were tested on arrival and have since been quarantined.
Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Consider registering for COVID-19 vaccinations at www.vaccinatecnmi.com, call 682-SHOT, or walk in to any vaccination outreach site.
All travelers are required to show up for their scheduled fifth-day test. Should any individual test positive during any test, they will be isolated at the government quarantine facility.
The CNMI is reminded to watch out for misinformation and to follow updates directly from the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and the CHCC. The spread of misinformation is just as dangerous as the virus itself.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please contact the CHCC Tele-Triage hotline at (670) 233-2067. The hotline runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For comments, concerns, and inquiries, call the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force hotline at (670) 287-0046/0489/1089, or email email@example.com. The hotline runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Updates from the COVID-19 Task Force and the CHCC can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts @governorcnmi and @cnmichcc, as well as through CNMI media partners. (PR)