By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Federated States of Micronesia's Covid-related death toll has risen to 21 and the cumulative number of positive cases has gone up to 7,196.
The FSM government confirmed that the virus has reached Yap, where the first two community transmissions have been identified, prompting the closure of schools for two days or "until further notice."
"Officials across Yap state government describe that the first known case shares a common place of employment with the second known case, and that this information served as the basis for additional testing across a wider spectrum of the population," said Richard Clark, spokesman for the FSM government.
He said non-essential government employees in Yap are working from home.
While private businesses remain open, Clark said they "are openly practicing Covid-19 safety measures such as signs encouraging the use of masks and hand sanitizer and/or handwashing stations nearby."
Representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, in a briefing with President David W. Panuelo on Aug. 15, said "two-thirds of deaths were males and one-third were females; the median age of the deceased is 69 years old in a range between 36 years old to 81 years old."
Clark said most of those who died from Covid-19 were found to be in poor health. They were "bedridden," "refusing dialysis" and had "multiple poorly managed medical problems."
Others were "moderately healthy" but had pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure and/or diabetes.
"No death could be described as reflective of a healthy person with little to no past medical history. The majority of deaths were reflective of persons who either had not been vaccinated or had only been partially vaccinated," Clark said.
The Covid-19 vaccination program at the Yap State Hospital is still ongoing.
Chuuk has not reported any community transmissions. Clark said the 65 cases recorded for the state were isolated in quarantine.
Clark said the FSM government has granted Chuuk's request to set a 66-passenger limit for each of the flights scheduled for Sept. 6, Sept. 26 and Oct. 12. "There will be no other flights with passengers disembarking in Chuuk in the months of September and October," he said.
In Yap, each incoming flight will be limited to 50 passengers until Dec. 31.
Correction: The earlier version of this story stated that there were 130 community transmissions. There were only two initial community transmissions; 130 was the cumulative total. We apologize for this inadvertent error.