CNMI reports one more positive case; tally at 22

TESTING: A nurse collects a specimen from her colleague April 26 at the Commonwealth Health Center. Lori Lyn C. Lirio/For The Guam Daily Post

SAIPAN – The governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. on Thursday said one additional person was recently confirmed to have contracted the respiratory disease.

“The individual is a 27-year-old female, asymptomatic, and is a contact of previously diagnosed individuals with COVID-19. Specimens were collected, processed, and confirmed positive at CHCC Laboratory” on Thursday.

As of May 21, the CNMI had a COVID-19 count of 22 with seven active cases, 13 recoveries and two deaths.

According to the task force, the latest case was identified through contact investigation and community testing.

The task force cited the cooperation of primary contacts in the discovery of secondary contacts and "quick identification and isolation of this individual in coordination with community-based testing."

“The individual is in stable condition, is safely isolated at Kanoa Resort, and is being closely monitored by CHCC medical teams,” the task force stated.

CHCC has initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts including family members, friends and associates of the new confirmed case.

“Contact tracing has helped slow or stop previous epidemics, such as the SARS and Ebola outbreaks," stated the task force. "But it's never been more critical, or more challenging, than in this fight against COVID-19.”

As a reminder to all residents of CNMI, the task force stated, “even if you have tested negative for the virus, or have already been infected with the virus and recovered, it is essential for everyone in the community to continue to practice strict social distancing and avoid public places as much as possible.”

The task force and CHCC said they encourage residents of the Marianas to continue practicing social distancing to help contain and limit the spread of COVID-19.

CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said as of May 21, CHCC had collected a total of 3,764 specimens on Saipan, 137 on Tinian and 188 on Rota.

The community-based testing initiative on Tinian and Rota will continue this week, she said.