A frontline worker, adorned in full PPE, oversees the buses for loading repatriating citizens to the quarantine facility.

TOFOL, Kosrae (FSM National Government/Kosrae State Government) — On July 22, 2021, a special session was called by the Co-Chair of the Kosrae State Covid-19 Task Force to discuss the repatriation of 18 citizens from the U.S. Territory of Guam on Monday, July 19, 2021.

Consistent with previous repatriation efforts, all repatriating citizens were tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to departure from pre-quarantine in Guam, and citizens were vaccinated with limited exception (e.g. minors).

The meeting discussed how all 18 citizens were tested on Wednesday, July 21, wherein an individual was tested positive for Covid-19.

The individual was tested twice via the NAAT/PCR test; both the National Government of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Kosrae State Government intend to further implement an antigen test to determine if the citizen is infectious.

The positive individual is currently without symptoms and has been placed in a specialized Covid isolation room.

Since arriving on Kosrae, the individual and all passengers have been in quarantine and have had no contact with the general public. 

As the passengers may have come into contact with the positive traveler, their quarantine durations will be extended to 14 days with additional monitoring.

All other 17 citizens tested negative, but are also suspected to have come in contact with the subject while in quarantine. Therefore, the quarantine period has reset, with July 22 determined as the first day of quarantine, and the 14th and final day of quarantine determined as Aug. 4, 2021.

The Kosrae State Covid-19 Task Force special session resulted in the move from Covid-Condition 4 to Covid-Condition 3.

The following conditions are proposed for immediate amendment by the Kosrae State Legislature to the Kosrae State Emergency Declaration:

1) Health screening shall be upgraded to include frontline workers and their families, and passenger disembarkation disallowed.

2) In the event that community transmission is confirmed, all public gatherings and conferences shall be prohibited.

3) In the event that community transmission is confirmed, a curfew shall be in effect. From 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., all minors must be in their usual place of residence unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

4)   Facemasks shall be used at all times while in public gatherings or public places such as stores, airports, hospital/clinics, banks, schools, churches, and restaurants.

Because this confirmed case was tested negative prior to repatriation, another Covid-19 test will be administered to all repatriating persons after 48 hours, which will be on Friday, July 23, 2021 at 3 p.m.

The general public is hereby encouraged to remain calm, to cooperate with relevant authorities during this uncertain time, and to be vigilant in caring for each other.

In a virtual meeting held between the FSM National Government, Kosrae State Government, and Dr. Thane Hancock from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Dr. Hancock emphasized that, in his view, this confirmed case should not cause panic in the community.

The Kosrae Covid-19 Task Force will maximize the protection of the community by isolating the positive case during their infectious period and quarantining any contacts.

Dr. Hancock emphasized that citizens who are not yet vaccinated against Covid-19 should receive their vaccine at the nearest opportunity.

The case is isolated and confined to the Kosrae State Quarantine Facility. Frontline workers who came into contact with the individual are being tested on July 21 and July 22, and again 48 hours later.

“I urge FSM citizens in Kosrae to remain calm, to have as much trust and confidence in our Kosrae State Government as I have, and to obtain their Covid-19 vaccine immediately if they haven’t already,” FSM President David W. Panuelo said in a statement.

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