Omicron variant identified in the CNMI
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Saipan-- While reporting 204 new Covid-19 cases, the CNMI disclosed today that multiple Covid-19 samples sent in to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were identified as the omicron variant.
As of Feb. 5, the CNMI had a total of 5,891 cases since March 26, 2020. The new individuals have been isolated and are actively monitored.
Of the 204 cases: 153 were identified on Feb. 4 and 51 on Feb. 3; 119 identified via contact tracing, 84 via community testing, one via travel testing. Ten were identified on Tinian, and six on Rota
As of Feb. 5, 2022, there were 10 individuals hospitalized as a result of Covid-19.
The CNMI government said of the 64 samples sequenced in the batch sent Jan. 12, 43 were identified as the omicron variant and 21 as the delta variant.
The samples in this batch were collected from Dec. 20, 2021 to Jan. 10. The first sample that was identified as omicron was collected on Dec. 20, 2021.
The Commonwealth Health Center Corp. said it regularly communicates with the CDC and sends Covid-19 specimens to the agency genetic sequencing.
As of Jan. 29, officials said, 99 percent of samples sequenced in the United States were identified as omicron.
According to the CDC, preliminary data suggest that omicron may cause more mild disease, although some people may still have severe disease, need hospitalization, and could die from the infection with this variant. Even if only a small percentage of people with omicron infection need hospitalization, the large volume of cases could overwhelm the health care system.
Persons infected with the omicron variant can show symptoms similar to previous variants.
The severity of symptoms can be affected by Covid-19 vaccination status, other health conditions, age, and history of prior infection. Individuals who are up to date with their Covid-19 vaccines and get Covid-19 are less likely to develop a serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get Covid-19.
The CNMI government said it is equipped to fight omicron. COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and testing are readily available.