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Inbound passenger tests positive for Covid-19

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THE Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. on Saturday evening announced that another individual had been confirmed positive for Covid-19. The CNMI now has a total of 70 cases since March 28.

The individual was identified through travel screening and confirmed positive through testing upon arrival.

The individual is the 10th case from a foreign country.

The individual is now in quarantine and is being monitored by the medical team. CHCC has already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts, including passengers on the same flight.

Of the total 70 confirmed cases, 44 were identified through port of entry screening; 10 were community contacts; and 16 were known contacts.

Of the 44 confirmed cases identified through travel screening, 27 originated from the U.S. mainland, 10 from a foreign country and seven from the U.S. territories, CHCC stated.

Detectable

In related news, CHCC said individuals who contracted the virus “can continue to shed detectable Covid-19 specimens up to three months after onset of illness.”

This means that if a person who has recovered from Covid-19 is retested within three months of initial infection, he or she may continue to have a positive result. “But they are unlikely infectious,” CHCC added.

In a previous interview, CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna cited cases of people who had recovered from the disease, but still tested positive when they entered the CNMI.

She said some of these individuals came from the U.S. mainland or Guam. “We were told they had completed the requirements or criteria for release from isolation. Nevertheless, we are requiring they still follow our quarantine protocols [when they arrive on Saipan] as these records are not shared with the CNMI and we just need to be sure.” 

This includes testing upon their arrival and on the fifth day, she added.

But she said CHCC has no plan to retest CNMI’s positive cases. She said  CHCC’s medical and epidemiology team continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 “Per CDC, retesting is not recommended unless the individual developed new symptoms during the three months since initial onset,” Muna said. “At the end of the day, it is about what is reasonable in science and reasonable and safe for this community.”

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