RMI escapes omicron spread

MIMRA staff member Barab Edwards received a Covid vaccine shot last month at Majuro hospital. The number of people getting their booster (third) Covid shot has more than doubled — from 2,190 as of January 4 to 5,117 by January 30 — since the beginning of January, no doubt spurred by the increase in cases in RMI neighbors Kiribati and Palau, as well as the discovery in early January of Covid positive cases in Kwaj quarantine. Photo: Eve Burns.

The RMI government continues to use both its quarantine facility in Arrak Majuro, as well as the Kwaj Lodge at Kwajalein for managing the quarantine of incoming repatriation groups.

Although United Airlines is not taking passengers out of Majuro for now, it continues to stop in Majuro for refueling and to drop off repatriation groups.
Last week’s RMI group was supposed to be 21, but five were dropped prior to the Tuesday flight time. Four either tested positive for Covid or were close contacts of someone who tested positive, while a fifth person was not allowed on the flight for behavior issues, according to RMI authorities.

The 16 in the group that departed Honolulu last Tuesday were dropped off in Majuro to start 14 days of quarantine. Eight were taken to the Arrak quarantine facility and eight went to the Majuro Covid ICU isolation ward. Soon after their arrival, all tested negative for Covid in the first test administered by the Ministry of Health and Human Services.
In other Covid news:

• The Covid variant omicron made a brief touch down in the RMI in early January. But fortunately it didn’t find a way to get out of quarantine at Kwajalein. Omicron has pretty much taken over the world’s Covid situation. It has a way of spreading like wildfire. The Ministry of Health and Human Services confirmed that laboratory tests in Hawaii confirmed that the three USAG-KA personnel who were in a recent repatriation group and tested positive on arrival at Kwajalein had the omicron variant. All three came from different parts of the United States, which has been hard-hit by omicron. The three tested negative late last month and were cleared for release.

• With daily new Covid cases running in the 100s, Palau currently has the highest infection rate of any US state or territory. The US Centers for Disease Control monitors the rolling seven-day rate of new cases for all states, the freely associated states, and US territories.

The seven-day average earlier this week for all states/FAS/territories is 941 new cases per 100,000 people. In contrast, emphasizing its continuing high infection rate, Palau was averaging 4,890 cases per 100,000 — five times the national average. Guam is not far behind in the second highest position in the US, with a rate of 2,658 per 100,000. The state with the highest rate earlier this week was Alaska with 2,103. RMI had zero cases per 100,000 people.

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