FSM Information Services
COVID-19 Case in Kosrae Deemed Historical & Non-Infectious; Individual to Remain Isolated, Tested Further, for 14 Days; “Get Vaccinated Today”, Says President Panuelo
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On July 24th, 2021, the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 via the NAAT/PCR test has come up as negative through subsequent antigen tests. The Kosrae Department of Health Services, the National Government Department of Health & Social Affairs, and Dr. Thane Hancock from the U.S. CDC agreed that the results show no evidence of active infection, and that the individual is negative for any COVID-19 related illness. Conversely, however, the results demonstrate that the individual would have been previously exposed to COVID-19 sometime in previous months.
While the conclusion reached is that the case is historical and so the individual has very little chance of passing the virus to any other person, the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Kosrae State Government’s respective medical teams agreed to continue following prescribed protocols and appropriate caution. Thus, the individual will remain in isolation and/or quarantine for 14 days, and will be tested again on day 14. The previous decisions regarding extending, and restarting, the quarantine countdown for the other repatriating persons remains the same i.e. each will undergo a 14 day quarantine period, complete with additional testing to follow.
While the intended August 9th, 2021, repatriation flight will be delayed, future repatriation flights will continue into the State of Kosrae on a regularly scheduled basis. Interstate travel between Kosrae and other FSM States will continue without restrictions.
Both the FSM National Government and Kosrae State Government agree that this second experience with a potential case of COVID-19—the first being the other historical and non-infectious case from the MV Chief Mailo in January, 2021—demonstrates that the Nation’s health protocols and procedures function as designed. The positive case was detected, isolated, and contained. The system is working as intended.
Both the FSM National Government and Kosrae State Government wish to emphasize the importance of the general public getting vaccinated immediately. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe; the COVID-19 vaccines are free; and the COVID-19 vaccines are how the Nation will end the Pandemic and emerge as a stronger, more resilient society.
“As my Cabinet and I have been undergoing defense talks with the United States of America,” His Excellency David W. Panuelo said in a statement, “I’ve given some thought to the relationship between service in the U.S. Armed Forces and service amongst people at large. Micronesians join the U.S. Armed Forces at the highest rate per capita, higher than any U.S. State. So we can say that Micronesians are willing to take a bullet for our country, for this beautiful Paradise in Our Backyards. If we are willing to take a bullet for our country, we should also be willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine for our neighbors. I have taken the COVID-19 vaccine. The First Lady has taken the COVID-19 vaccine. My Cabinet has taken the COVID-19 vaccine. Even my 86-year-old mother has taken the vaccine! The vaccine is free. The vaccine is safe. The vaccine is how we open our borders, rebuild our economy, and emerge from the status of COVID-19 free to the status of COVID-19 protected. The vaccine is how families will reconnect with each other, and the liberties we’ve been asked to give up for the public good will come back. I call upon each and every one of you, then, to take the COVID-19 vaccine for your neighbors. I can think of nothing more descriptive of our Micronesian love, our Micronesian Tiahk-en-Wahu, that is, our tradition of respect, than to take the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“In my capacity as President of the FSM, I wish to thank our FSM Department of Health & Social Affairs as lead by Acting Secretary Marcus Samo, the FSM COVID-19 Task Force, and Dr. Thane Hancock from the U.S. CDC, for their hard work and diligent efforts. I thank, with all of my heart, the Government of Kosrae for their dedication, collaboration, and commitment to the public good, and I emphasize again my full trust and confidence in them all, from the Governor and the Director of Health Services to the nurses and frontline responders. I equally appreciate the highly cooperative attitude from the State of Kosrae as we work together to repatriate our stranded citizens, get vaccinated against COVID-19, and take actions today for our Nation’s prosperity tomorrow.”