After sending specimen samples from individuals suspected of having COVID-19, the governments of Palau and the Marshall Islands announced on Sat, March 7, negative findings for both individuals.
The Palau Ministry of Health (MOH) received the results from ROC-Taiwan Center for Disease Control’s Ku-Yang Laboratory, which revealed the island’s first COVID-19 Person Under Investigation had tested negative.
However, the Hawaii State laboratory results are still pending, according to Palau MOH. The patient specimens were sent to the Hawaii lab on Thurs, March 5.
On March 3, Tuesday health officials informed the public of its investigation of a potential COVID-19 case in Palau — a 73-year old female visitor from Oregon State with underlying conditions. The patient came to Palau with a visiting medical team on Feb 20.
Following the detection of the potential COVID-19 case, MOH contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and isolated the individual at the Belau National Hospital.
“While the news proves optimistic for Palau and especially for the patient and her family, the public is nevertheless urged to remain vigilant with efforts to prevent infection and diseases. Everyone is urged to continue practicing preventive measures including proper hand-washing and coughing etiquettes and to exercise self-observation of their health,” Palau MOH stated in a release.
Meanwhile, in the Marshall Islands, the government’s Ministry of Health and Human Services (MoHHS) also reported a negative result for its suspected COVID-19 case.
Health officials first reported the suspected COVID-19 case on March 5, Thurs. The PUI was a 66-year-old Majuro resident who recently returned from Washington state. The individual was immediately isolated at the Majuro hospital.
According to the RMI MoHHS, the results from the Hawaii State laboratory were released on Saturday.
“As the symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other respiratory illnesses (including colds and influenza) it is expected that with time the Ministry will identify more persons requiring investigations for COVID-19. This should not alarm the public as it is an indication of the high level of alertness and precautionary approach the Ministry is taking in response to this global outbreak,” RMI MoHHS stated in a release.
Both governments emphasize that there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in their respective islands.
Below are the releases from RMI and Palau: