The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands has confirmed its third Covid-19 related death.
The vaccinated male, who had underlying health conditions, was first admitted to a hospital in August after travel screening and quarantine. He was discharged in early September before being readmitted with Covid-related pneumonia. He died early this month.
CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres, his Covid task force and Commonwealth Health Corp. all confirmed the death to the newspaper Marianas Variety. CNMI previously had two deaths, in March and April last year.
There are currently 273 active cases in the CNMI and, as of Oct. 6, five people were hospitalized.
Health Corp. chief medical officer John Tuela encouraged vigilance in the territory, despite its success in containing the virus thus far.
“This virus continues to demonstrate how unforgiving and unrelenting it can be as it evolves and rages on globally,” Tuela told Marianas Variety. “We cannot stress enough to the community how important it is for everyone to continue to be vigilant here and when traveling outside the CNMI to protect yourself and your loved ones. Our community fortunately has been spared from a surge so far, but we cannot let our guard down.”
A majority of the CNMI’s current cases were identified through travel screening, accounting for 243 cases, while 11 were found during routine testing and 25 through contact tracing.
Torres expressed his condolences to the man’s family, but encouraged the community to take heed.
“This should be a constant reminder for all of us to continue protecting each other during this pandemic. We will continue to keep our community safe,” said Torres.
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Thomas Heaton is a Li Center for Global Journalism Fellow. The position is supported by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Institute for Nonprofit News. You can reach him by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @thomasheaton.