RMI Covid prevention action

Majuro hospital staff in full personal protection gear ready for action as part of Covid preparedness.

Majuro hospital’s Covid isolation ward, built last year, is getting a workout this month — all for non-Covid medical reasons.

First was a Vietnamese fishermen who was successfully treated for knife wounds sustained during a fight on a purse seiner. He was to be released Monday this week, but has been held longer due to arrival of other patients in the unit.

Next was the emergency medical need that developed for one of the seven Marshallese repatriated on the United Airlines flight who were part of President Kabua’s delegation. That individual was moved by ambulance into the Covid ward last week Tuesday and remains under medical care and following protocol cannot be released until completing a 14-day quarantine.

Then last Thursday night’s United Airlines flight resulted in another emergency. A 62-year-old Chuukese female required urgent medical attention which necessitated transfer to the Covid-19 isolation unit at the Majuro hospital, along with her family escort. “This person was being medically evacuated from FSM and developed symptoms after departing Pohnpei,” according to the Chief Secretary’s office. The aircraft did not have sufficient oxygen the patient needed for the onward journey to Hawaii, so airline officials asked the hospital for it to handle the emergency situation.

Health authorities emphasized that both patient and escort were fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine and tested negative prior to departing the FSM. The illness was not Covid related, according to a statement from Chief Secretary Kino Kabua.

Despite the vaccination, negative test, and unrelated illness, Majuro hospital officials took the usual precautions in moving the patient from the plane to the hospital. “Transport from the aircraft to the isolation unit was achieved using a ‘sterile travel bubble’ with all staff involved who were cleared of infectious exposure prior to being released,” said a release from the Chief Secretary’s office.

Early Monday morning, the patient from Chuuk died from her medical condition, hospital authorities said. She had been tested four times for Covid since arriving last Thursday and every test was negative. “Her death is not due to Covid-19,” said the Chief Secretary. Meantime, her family escort remains in quarantine to complete 14 days of secure and monitored quarantine.

In other Covid news:

• President David Kabua, First Lady Ginger Kabua, and three President’s Office staff are currently spending 14 days in quarantine at the RMI quarantine facility in Arrak.

They are expected to be released from quarantine next week Wednesday, July 21 assuming everyone tests negative for Covid, which they have to date.

• People who get Covid in the US — and those who are dying — are virtually all people who have not been vaccinated.

CBS News reported earlier this week that 99.7 percent of new Covid cases in the US are among people who have not been vaccinated.

This was confirmed by the State of Maryland. Information provided by the state showed that in June, 130 people died of Covid. None of them were vaccinated, according to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

“All of the vaccines authorized for emergency use give extra protection against hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas in a CNN report. “This has been confirmed now in very practical settings over the past year. It’s a reminder that you have every reason to get vaccinated.”

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