Close-up medical syringe with a vaccine.

A traveler from a Sept. 5 Guam flight tested positive for COVID-19 last week and the person is isolated and asymptomatic, as health officials continue to encourage the unvaccinated to get their coronavirus shots.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Health and Human Services (MHHS) on Friday, of the 93 inbound travelers, who arrived on September 5, 2021, one tested positive of COVID-19 on day 5 testing. The MHHS said the person tested negative on day one and is fully vaccinated.

” Additional tests including PCR GeneXpert and Abbot ID confirmed results. Per protocol, the traveler was immediately placed in isolation, and contact tracing and investigation of close contacts have already been initiated by the Bureau of Public Health personnel,” MHHS said.

 The MHHS further added that Initial contact tracing and investigation has identified eight individuals as close contacts of the traveler who tested positive of COVID-19.

“All close contacts tested negative of COVID-19 and have been placed in quarantine. They will undergo further testing in the next ten days.”

 Dr. Thane Hancock from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on the Eco Paradise show on Friday reiterated that getting vaccinated provides strong protection against severe illness from COVID-19.

He said that vaccination also protects against the delta variant.

“Please get vaccinated, this delta variant makes getting vaccinated, even more, important than previously, these vaccines are safe or effective. So CDC is really encouraging anyone over the age of 12 years old, who is eligible to get vaccinated, to please do so. Palau has enough vaccines to vaccinate everyone, and it really helps protect you against the most serious aspects of COVID-19,” Dr. Hancock said.

He also emphasized that people continue to practice preventative measures from wearing masks, physically distancing, and handwashing.

“This virus likes to move around in indoor areas with poor ventilation so if there are gatherings or anything that you can do outdoors versus indoors that does help reduce transmission as well,” he added.

As of Sept 13, MHHS said 89 percent of Palau’s estimated 17,651 population have been fully vaccinated.  (B. Carreon)

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