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  • Writer's pictureBy Pacific Island Times News Staff

Kosrae child tests Covid-19 positive after returning home from Guam

A frontline worker oversees the bus that transports the returning citizens to a quarantine facility. Photo courtesy of FSM Information Service

A child, who was among the 18 Micronesians repatriated to Kosrae from Guam, tested positive for Covid-19.

The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia said the infected child arrived in Kosrae with his vaccinated parents on a repatriation flight from Guam on July 19. The case was discovered during routine testing while the family was in quarantine, the embassy said.

"The individual was tested twice via the NAAT/PCR test; both the national government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Kosrae State government intend to further implement an antigen test to determine if the citizen is infectious,” states a joint press release from the national and state governments.

Officials said the positive individual is asymptomatic and has been placed in a specialized Covid isolation room.

The detection of Kosrae's first coronavirus case has prompted the local Covid-19 Task Force to raise state’s alert status from Covid Condition 4 to 3.

“I urge FSM citizens in Kosrae to remain calm, to have as much trust and confidence in our Kosrae State government as I have, and to obtain their Covid-19 vaccine immediately if they haven’t already,” FSM President David W. Panuelo said in a statement.

Officials said all repatriating citizens — who have all been vaccinated except for the children — had negative test results within 72 hours prior to departure from pre-quarantine in Guam.

“Since arriving on Kosrae, the individual and all passengers have been in quarantine and have had no contact with the general public,” officials said.

“As the passengers may have come into contact with the positive traveler, their quarantine durations will be extended to 14 days with additional monitoring.”

Officials said all returning citizens will be tested again on Friday,

July 23.

In a virtual meeting with national and state officials, Dr. Thane Hancock, a representative from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, said the confirmed case “should not cause panic in the community.”

Frontline workers who came into contact with the individual are being tested on July 21 and July 22 and again 48 hours later.

The Kosrae Covid-19 Task Force vows to maximize the protection of the community by isolating the positive case during their infectious period and quarantining any contacts.

Hancock advised unvaccinated citizens to get their anti-Covid shots soon.

The Kosrae group formed the third batch of FSM citizens who have been sent back home after being stranded on Guam for more than a year since the government walled up the nation's borders at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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