Over in the Northern Marianas amid the 2022 Pacific Mini Games, athletes are in top shape arriving and medical officials at the island’s only hospital hope to keep it that way. At the start of the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games, first responders carried the ceremonial flag, in honor of their efforts to keep the Pacific safe in this pandemic.

Athletes are in top shape arriving and medical officials at the island’s only hospital hope to keep it that way. Dr. Lily Muldoon, Medical director of CNMI Public Health, said, "We are expecting an influx of almost 2,000 people, so CHCC has set up some precautions to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Dr. Muldoon says there’s an uptick of community cases, even before the games began, and as of last week, at least two athletes tested positive. "The athletes have been provided daily COVID antigen swabs by the COVID task force and they are expected to swab daily and report any positive cases to the contact tracers.  CHCC is playing a role by being available for helping with contact tracing and also if anybody tests positive we can help connect them to different therapeutics if they qualify for treatment for COVID. And of course, our ER is open 24 hours a day and if anybody needs care we are there to take care of them," she explained.

And back on the field, each venue has medical tents staffed by the Red Cross, Dept. of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and hospital staff.

"It means for all of us that we should be taking extra precautions to ensure that we can personally stay safe and that our community stays safe," she noted. "And we can do that by masking primarily. If you are inside with a group of people that are outside of your household, mask up, and I also recommend for us too if you are at high risk of contracting COVID…any comorbidities to try and avoid high risk or high crowded area to make sure you can continue to stay personally safe."

It’s all in an effort to ensure celebrations don’t have to happen in isolation.