MOST of the 98 additional individuals confirmed positive for Covid-19 on Monday are fully vaccinated.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation on Wednesday reported that of the 98 new cases, 74 are fully vaccinated, 12 unvaccinated, nine partially vaccinated, and three are ineligible for vaccination.

Eighty-two cases were identified through community-based testing, or CBT, 13 via contact tracing, and three at CHCC.

Of the 82 cases, 63 were part of an emerging cluster with Covid-19 transmission origins linked to a large congregated living facility.

The remaining 19 individuals have no links to the clusters.

As of Wednesday morning, there had been 281 new cases since the first wave of community cases were identified on Thursday, Oct. 28.

Of these 281 cases, 138 were identified via community testing, 132 through contact tracing, and 11 by travel testing.

There were 622 Covid-19 tests conducted on Monday, Nov. 22, including travel testing and surveillance testing.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Pacific Island Health Officers Association regional communicable disease epidemiologist Stephanie Kern-Allely, MPH said that one of the two main clusters identified from the Oct. 28 community cases is still active.

There are no severe Covid-19 cases, although some of the patients are symptomatic, she added.

For close contacts identified at the quarantine facility, they are tested on day one and re-tested on day five.

Release from quarantine requires a negative Covid-19 test on day five.

If an individual tests positive on either day one or day five, s/he will be isolated or quarantined for an additional 10 days.

As for workplace and business Covid-19 protocols amid a spread, recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found via https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html.

Kern-Allely noted that the Public School System has already established its own protocols for containment in schools and offices.

CNMI Covid-19 Task Force Chairman Warren F. Villagomez, said that no one in the travel bubble program has tested positive for Covid-19, adding that protocols are still enforced for that program.

CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther L. Muna said they are closely monitoring the cases, and based on current data, they do not see the need to change the community vulnerability level, which is green at this time.

The governor’s authorized representative for the Covid-19 disaster, Patrick Guerrero, said CHCC and the task force “should be commended for identifying those 98 [cases] because every day that passes, an infected individual would infect someone else…. We hope that the numbers decline, but if we do find another pocket, then that means that we were successful in identifying cases, so hats off to this team and definitely to the contract tracing team that has been working tirelessly this whole time,” Guerrero added.

As of Tuesday, Kanoa Resort and the former Mariana Resort were being utilized for isolation and quarantine, Guerrero said.

In case of a potential spread on Rota and Tinian, Guerrero said the response efforts will be on a case-by-case basis.

If there are just a few individuals identified as positive, they will most likely be transported to Saipan where care is more readily available and accessible, he added.

As for the 98 individuals and their high-risk contacts — they have been isolated and are actively monitored.

“We need everybody’s support and assistance to provide information so that we can close the gap,” Muna said. “I understand that some people may be afraid to share some information because they do not want to be in quarantine, but this is about closing these cases. We really do need your help, and if there’s anything else that we can do to help you be a solution to this problem, please let us know.... Tell us how we can help you help us,” she added.

She said the associated risk of infection depends on the level of exposure, which will, in turn, determine the type of monitoring.

Establishing the level of exposure can be difficult and requires investigation, Muna said.

If you have concerns regarding a possible exposure to a positive case, call contact tracers no later than 9 p.m. at (670) 285-1942, 286-1710, or 286-1729.

If you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, or new loss of taste or smell, see your provider or call the CHCC Tele-Triage hotline at (670) 233-2067.

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