Tinian reports 1st Covid-19 case

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A SAILOR who is deployed to Tinian for a port construction project tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival there on Sept. 1, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Covid-19 Task Force announced Wednesday.

This brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in the CNMI to 57.

The sailor, who came from Guam, is with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion or Seabees.

Task force chairman Warren Villagomez said the individual was identified through travel screening.

The task force immediately arranged for the transport of the sailor to Saipan for isolation at the Kanoa Resort, he added.

“We also brought a total of 11 people, including [other] Seabees, who work with the guy,” Villagomez said.

They will be tested again for Covid-19 on the fifth day.

He said all individuals arriving in the CNMI must go through the travel screening process required by  CHCC and the task force.

As soon as the Seabees arrived on Tinian, they had to undergo Covid-19 testing on the first  day and must go into quarantine while waiting for their fifth-day test, Villagomez said.

The Seabees traveled to Tinian via military aircraft from Guam.

“The Department of Defense informed the CNMI government that the entire deployed Seabees team remained in a restricted movement for greater than 14 days on board U.S. Naval Base Guam and that all tested negative for Covid-19,” CHCC and the task force said in a statement.

They added that the individual is asymptomatic.

“For those who are asymptomatic, as in this instance, the virus may have been incubating, but not at a detectable level,” Muna said. “Due to the nature of this evolving virus, the CNMI is aggressive in our testing to reduce the possibility of community transmission.”

She said the CNMI arrival screening protocol protects its borders.

“We are doing our due diligence to reassure the community that if there’s any exposure, we will take action immediately,” Villagomez said. “But as of this time, there is no sign of any interaction and contact [with community members], based on the initial information given by the contact tracing team on Tinian.”

Agreement to exempt

In a separate statement, The Tinian Municipal Operations Command or MOC said a member of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion or NMCB/Seabees who arrived on Tinian Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, has been confirmed positive for Covid-19 after additional testing on Tinian.

“As part of the MOC’s agreement to exempt certain Department of Defense personnel to allow for direct arrival from Guam, Seabees are required to quarantine in standalone rooms for a minimum of 14 days on Guam. Prior to departure to Tinian, Seabees are required to be tested and confirmed negative within 72 hours of departure. Immediately upon arrival on Tinian, all personnel must also undergo additional health screening to include additional testing upon arrival and mandatory self-quarantine.

“Upon arrival on Tinian on Aug. 31, 2020, all Seabees were taken directly to the hotel and remained in a mandatory quarantine until they were transported to the Tinian Health Center for additional testing on Sept. 1. This individual, along with all Seabees arriving on Aug. 31 has been transported to Saipan and is currently in quarantine for close monitoring. The Tinian Health Center, MOC, and CHCC have already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts of the new confirmed case.”

Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan said that “from all accounts, this individual has followed all protocols and procedures required prior to departure to, and upon arrival on Tinian. Our current health screening measures include a redundant testing requirement prior to departing to Tinian and upon arrival on Tinian and mandatory quarantine. This system, although burdensome, is critical to effectively screen for Covid-19 and keeping our community safe.”

He added, “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our front liners here on Tinian from DPS, DFEMS, and THC who have worked tirelessly since [Tuesday] and throughout the night to mobilize, coordinate and implement response and containment measures.”

(With Junhan B. Todino)




November 2020 pssnewsletter

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