CNMI focuses on testing and treatment as it prepares for omicron variant

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Saipan health officials say they are preparing for the arrival of the omicron variant as more cases are reported in Rota, Tinian and Saipan. The news comes as the CNMI has a record vaccination rate of 97.5%.

CNMI Hospital CEO Esther Muna said their vaccination rate “is exceptional and makes us a world leader”.

NMI’s record vaccination rate comes as more cases are reported in Rota, Tinian and Saipan.

“Although we have seen a significant decrease in cases since the start of this wave of infections, the total number of cases and hospitalizations still remains too high,” Muna said.

Rota has seen six cases, Tinian reports eight cases in total and in Saipan: more than 3,500 cases since the start of the outbreak in October.

“We’re used to seeing 30 to 40 cases a month, not in a day,” Muna said. “For the first time ever, we have cases on Rota. We still need to protect ourselves and our community from COVID-19. Although we have no reports of omicron in the CNMI, this variant is spreading around the world and we need to be prepared for this new wave of cases.”

She reminds everyone: the pandemic is not over. They are still focusing on testing, treatment and vaccinations as prevention measures ease the burden on the island’s only hospital. Cases from Rota and Tinian who may need a ventilator will need to be airlifted to Saipan.

“If you are 18 or older and now 12 or older, and you are eligible for this booster shot, I encourage you to go ahead and get vaccinated,” said Stephanie Kern-Allely, epidemiologist regional.

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