(Governor’s Office) – Citing an increase in Covid-19 hospital admissions, Governor Ralph DLG Torres, the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. announced that the CNMI Covid-19 Emergency Policy has been amended to introduce new guidelines for face-to-face interactions, public gatherings, and vaccine verification to protect the health and safety of the people of the CNMI.
Since the beginning of 2020, the Torres Administration through the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force and CHCC has put strict but necessary restrictions on activities across the Commonwealth to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 in our community.
Under the leadership of Governor Torres, the CNMI will shift its focus to protecting against increasing hospital stays that would overwhelm CHCC and private clinics, and ultimately protecting vulnerable residents with pre-existing illnesses and health conditions.
As we saw in the early days of the pandemic, public health measures such as wearing masks, keeping your distance, washing hands, and vaccinating are reducing the spread of the disease and preventing vulnerable members of our community from serious illness. While the CNMI remains safe because of its high vaccination rate, the task force remains vigilant about the surge in confirmed positive cases in the community and the potential threat posed by the Omicron variant.
The data also show that unvaccinated people are more likely to be hospitalized with severe symptoms than vaccinated people.
“It is critical that our employees remain vigilant and take personal responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, our friends, our Manamko and our loved ones with pre-existing conditions. We must continue to encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated. Our focus now is on protecting against mass hospitalization by reducing the risk of community transmission through these guidelines, ”said Governor Torres.
The following restrictions are in effect from Monday, December 6, 2021 through Sunday, December 19, 2021.
Not necessarily required
Governor Torres has closed all non-essential government offices.
All non-essential government employees of the Commonwealth departments and agencies are advised to stay home for the next 14 days.
In order to ensure the continuity of public services, all department and activity managers have been advised to facilitate teleworking and time and attendance in their offices, departments and agencies during this official home stay arrangement.
Certain key government agencies will have limited access to the public. This includes the Department of Revenue and Taxes and the CNMI Treasury Department. Basic law enforcement, public safety and public health services will continue to be fully operational. Announcements are made for other public services.
Wear masks indoors
Masks are required in all indoor public spaces. These spaces include, but are not limited to: common areas of apartment buildings and offices, gyms, shops, cultural institutions, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
Face masks are not required when sitting in a catering establishment or when actively eating or drinking.
Signs must be posted at all entrances indicating that face masks are required at your facility.
The curfew is now from 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Exceptions to the curfew remain:
• First aiders performing their official duties and with a badge issued by the Covid-19 Task Force
• Anyone legally employed or on the direct route to or from their workplace during curfew
• Anyone admitted to or from the CHCC hospital or who has completed treatment such as hemodialysis.
For all indoor events, the number of participants must be limited to 50% of the permissible occupancy, unless the organizer or the owner of the facility provides proof of vaccination or a negative test certificate, in which case an occupancy of 100% is permissible. The occupancy of a facility is determined by the Building Code of the Department of Public Works.
The obligation to provide evidence of a completed Covid-19 vaccination applies to all guests aged 12 and over. Evidence of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours is the option for unvaccinated people. Covid-19 tests are free when done on a community based testing site.
In addition, the organizers and facilities of meetings must be able to conduct a temperature study of all employees, guests and participants before entering the facility or participating in the event. Institutions or organizers must document the name, telephone number and proof of completed Covid-19 vaccination or test (which can be documented by recording the date of the last vaccination or test) of each user and each participant in a log that the CNMI must be accessible to officials.
Acceptable proof of vaccination includes an original vaccination card, photocopy or photo of a vaccination card, or a vaccination card or documentation provided by the CHCC or a healthcare provider.
A completed vaccination must meet the following:
• 2 weeks (14 days) after a dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine (J&J vaccines)
• 2 weeks (14 days) after the second dose of an accepted 2-dose series (Moderna or Pfizer)
The Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force and CHCC continue to urge individuals to practice the three Ws: wash your hands. Pay attention to your distance. Wear face covering.
The Covid-19 Infoline has a new number and opening times. For comments, concerns, and inquiries about protocols, call (670) 488-0211.
The Covid-19 Infoline hotline is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The CNMI is reminded to be vigilant for misinformation and to track updates directly from the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force and the CHCC. Spreading misinformation is just as dangerous as the virus itself.
If you have Covid-19 symptoms, contact the CHCC Tele-Triage Hotline at 233-2067. The CHCC Tele-Triage-Hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can find updates from the Covid-19 Task Force and the CHCC on the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts @governorcnmi and @cnmichcc as well as via the CNMI media partners.