Yap Gov. Henry Falan on Thursday announced a curfew in his state following the death of a person who showed symptoms associated with Covid-19.
The individual had no off-island travel history but was sent to isolation upon arrival at Yap State Hospital on April 14 with severe respiratory distress, according to Yap officials. He passed away at 1 a.m. the following morning from pneumonia, which is associated with most Covid-19 deaths. Officials said the individual "had moved freely in the community until he fell ill."
The deceased patient was among the three "persons under investigation" for Covid-19 reported in Yap between April 10 and 14.
The two other individuals arrived on Yap from Guam on March 18 and were quarantined at the Yap Sports Complex for 14 days before being sent home and required to remain in self-quarantine for an additional 14 days.
However, both were found to have breached the requirement to remain at home and were seen moving throughout the community during that time. They are now in isolation at Yap State Hospital.
“As a result of this latest development,” Falan said, “I have issued a restrictions on movement of people decree to prevent movement of all residents of Yap between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. seven days a week until such time as the restrictions are reviewed."
The three PUIs, including the one who died, were not confirmed Covid-19 positive just yet. Yap officials said specimens were collected from all three patients and are being sent to Guam for testing on tonight’s weekly flight. Results are expected within 24 to 48 hours after arrival at the lab.
The state government has begun contact tracing for all three individuals to identify those persons with whom they came into contact while moving around the community.
“We have been very fortunate to have no confirmed cases in Yap so far," Falan said. But,” he added, “we have been forced to issue this order because our prior requests for people to stay home and practice social distancing and avoid mass gatherings have not been effective."
Falan said the curfew was recommended by the Health Care Task Force and the Department of Health Services.
"Even if these individuals receive negative test results, they may be false negatives since the test is only 70 percent accurate. The virus may also have been brought onto our island through an asymptomatic, silent carrier,” Falan said.
The decree, which was added to the state’s March 25 Emergency Declaration, was also signed by members of the Council of Pilung, the traditional council that oversees issues of culture and tradition. “We are very grateful for the support and collaboration of our senators and congressmen, as well as, the traditional leaders who are assisting in educating and monitoring the municipalities under their jurisdiction.”
All residents are required to remain indoors at their places of residence during the curfew hours, and to exercise the recommended measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., residents may leave their homes to perform needed activities such as food shopping. But all residents are required to limit their movement by not lingering, to practice social distancing, observe preventative hygiene measures, and not gather in groups.