Commonwealth officials say no coronavirus in CNMI

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The CNMI’s Commonwealth Health Corporation and CNMI Office of the Governor have released a statement saying that no coronavirus case has been confirmed in the commonwealth.

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The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation released a statement regarding the outbreak in China of a new coronavirus referred to as 2019-nCoV. Symptoms include those associated with lower respiratory illness such as coughing, difficulty breathing, and fever.

“If you traveled to Wuhan and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away,” CHCC warned. “Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. You should also avoid contact with others and not travel while sick.”

The CHCC Public Health and Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program is continuing to work with customs and border control officials at the Saipan airport and other ports of entry to screen passengers arriving from affected areas.

PHEP Director Warren Villagomez said passengers boarding Saipan-bound planes from Japan, Thailand, and China, “will be given a questionnaire and it will be collected. When the aircraft arrives here, the questionnaires will be the first things that will be verified by PHEP and Customs and Border Protection…to determine if someone has the symptoms of coronavirus,”

While originally thought to be spreading from animal to person, there are now indications that 2019 nCoV may be spread from person to person via coughing and sneezing, similar to how the flu is spread.

CHCC recommended that CNMI residents wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and cover their noses and mouths with a tissue or your sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing. They also recommended that residents avoid contact with sick people, and stay home or seek medical attention if they are not feeling well.

While CHCC and the Office of the Governor say that five patients were treated at the public hospital exhibiting symptoms, their illnesses were confirmed to be ordinary flu.

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