Guam and Saipan don't have a single case of coronavirus, local officials stated Monday.
Local officials issued a joint release after a false alert circulated on social media that a case of the pneumonia-like novel coronavirus was found on Saipan.
"There are no reported suspected or confirmed infections with 2019-nCoV on Guam or within the Mariana Islands at this time," the local officials stated.
The Saipan government did send test results from a family of five who arrived at the international airport on Saipan with flu-like symptoms. The testing ruled out coronavirus and showed the family had a simple flu, said Kevin Bautista, spokesman for the Northern Marianas governor's office.
Flights from China continue to arrive on Saipan, he said.
Guam and the Northern Marianas government have a system to send samples for testing to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has stated it has established a mechanism for the rapid testing for coronavirus cases.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands government is working with Customs and Border Protection to conduct surveillance at the airport – observing travelers who may have flu-like symptoms.
"We’ve been monitoring and working closely with the airlines," Bautista said. "We do not have suspected cases" of coronavirus.
There are at least 1,000 cases in China, where the coronavirus was first found to have passed from animals to humans. The pneumonia-like disease has killed at least 56 people in China and infected more than 1,900 worldwide, The Washington Post reported.
There is no cure specific to the new coronavirus and no vaccine has been developed, according to the CDC.
Guam's Department of Public Health and Social Services has stated Guam is at low risk but the situation can evolve quickly.
"While CDC considers this a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. Nevertheless, DPHSS, along with all local and federal partners are taking proactive preparedness precautions," the department's press release stated.
Demand for face masks
China's coronavirus outbreak has caused a surge in demand for face masks.
Wearing face masks in the United States is probably not necessary because the contagion isn't widespread in the nation, The Washington Post reported, quoting experts.
"DPHSS continues to closely monitor the situation and is working with CDC on information sharing. Health alerts have been issued to all healthcare providers to increase awareness for detection. Specimen shipping protocols to the CDC have been established to maximize the speed that test results are returned on any suspected cases," Guam's DPHSS stated.
DPHSS is holding a multi-agency coordination meeting this week with local and federal stakeholders to discuss the ongoing surveillance of the 2019-nCoV and the emergency response plans locally.
“The situation is rapidly evolving and can change with each day,” stated Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “As information develops and with guidance from the CDC, we will continue to make assessments as they relate to the safety of the community, to include the tourism industry. While CDC and other partners prepare around the world, our community can also take preventative action.”