SAIPAN — There had been no transmission of COVID-19 within business establishments, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said Friday.

In a press briefing on KKMP radio, she said since CHCC conducted contact tracing following the identification of 11 cases beginning on March 12, they had not found cases in which individuals got infected at business establishments.

Muna would also like to thank businesses that continue to strictly enforce safety measures.

As for the 11 cases identified starting March 12, the average age of the individuals is 27 years old, she said, adding that seven were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but only one had completed the two-dose vaccination regimen.

Muna said when the 147th case was identified on March 12 through medical referral testing, all the immediate contacts were identified.

She said none of these cases required hospitalization.

Of the 182 individuals checked through contact tracing, only 10 were confirmed positive although 165 of them had "sufficient level and duration of exposure."

"And I had to say that masks do work," Muna said. "When you are in contact it's not only to protect yourself but also others. So when you get to family gatherings, and when you go home, often times we take off our mask. That is, in some situation, what had occurred," she added.

Muna said to date, 36.5% of the adult population in the CNMI had been inoculated and 26% had completed the two-dose vaccination.

The chairman of the Governor's COVID-19 Task Force, Warren Villagomez, echoed Muna, saying, "We want to thank the businesses for complying with the safety measures."

He also acknowledged the law enforcement agencies that "work with us to make sure that plastic shields for cashiers and other safety measures are in place in establishments to prevent the spread."

As of Sunday, there had been a total of 159 COVID-19 cases in the CNMI since March 28, 2020 with two deaths in March and April 2020. Of these cases 123 were diagnosed through travel screening: 78 from the U.S. mainland, 32 from a U.S. territory and 12 from a foreign country.

In addition, there had been 36 community transmission cases, 11 of which were diagnosed at CHCC and 25 through contact tracing.

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