1 tests positive upon arrival

Mariana Resort now in full swing
Posted on Aug 07 2020

One person has been confirmed positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, bringing the CNMI’s current case count to 47. 

This latest case—a CNMI resident—was identified upon arrival through the incoming traveler screening, according to a statement last night from the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.

Also, with the Kanoa Resort quarantine site already at full capacity, the former Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi opened its doors yesterday to inbound travelers and is now playing host to the 60 passengers from yesterday morning’s flight.

According to Warren Villagomez, who heads the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, there were a total of 60 people in all that arrived yesterday but some came as a family or couple, so only 40 rooms are being used at the reef hotel of Marianas Resort. All these passengers came on the United Airlines flight yesterday. 

The task force and CHCC assured that he latest case is safely in quarantine and was moved to the designated isolation area for close monitoring. CHCC has already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts (passengers on the same flight, close family members, friends, and associates) of the newly confirmed case. 

Of the CNMI’s total 47 confirmed cases, 23 cases (49%) have been identified through port-of-entry screening procedures. Of the 23 confirmed cases identified through travel screening, 19 cases originated from the U.S. mainland, one from a U.S. territory, and three from a foreign country.

The Mariana Resort quarantine site is currently being managed by Kensington Hotel Saipan. Villagomez said that the task force was able to obtain a hotel management contract with the company. When asked if there are staff from Kensington Hotel Saipan at the quarantine site, Villagomez said that there are management teams who will be there to keep eyes on the site.

Still, the required five-day testing for all incoming passengers will still be done at the Kanoa Resort and if the test results from the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. laboratory show negative results, they would be releasing people on that same night, Villagomez said.

Villagomez said that they are trying to expedite testing at Kanoa Resort by setting up a small area in the courtyard for that purpose, so that those being tested won’t have to be checked into the resort, while also complying with all precautionary measures.

“We’re not checking them in anymore in the room. We need every room that we can have available so that’s the new processors that we’re having,” said Villagomez. He added that CHCC, the task force, and Kanoa Resort will set up the small area that is comfortable enough where passengers getting tested can wait for their results.

The task force also clarified yesterday that all incoming travelers who are entering the CNMI to perform essential work and has submitted a request to enter the CNMI does not mean it is automatically approved. According to task force and CHCC statement, a notification email will be sent to the email provided during submission for approval or denial of request, and travelers should “plan accordingly.”

A request for essential work should include a detailed description of the type of work that will be performed, and a brief scope of work justifying the need for travel into the CNMI, the organization’s name and occupation with the organization, and the expected time frame of work start and completion dates.

“Essential work evaluations, approvals, and decisions are based on epidemiological factors and strength of work justification. As per the Governor’s Executive Order and the COVID-19 Emergency Directives, the CNMI Health Official is able to make on the spot adjustments as needed,” said the task force and CHCC statement.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
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