CHC test tags positive case

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Posted on Apr 20 2020

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This frame grab shows an Asia Airline flight as it lands at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport last Saturday to bring a supply of 5,000 coronavirus test kits. (SAIPAN TRIBUNE)

The CNMI has one new confirmed positive COVID-19 case, raising the CNMI’s confirmed total to 14 and making the newest case the first time to be confirmed locally through the Commonwealth Health Center laboratory. Also, more coronavirus test kits arrived in the CNMI last Saturday from South Korea, brought in by an Asiana Airlines flight.

According to a statement from the COVID-19 Task Force and Commonwealth Health Care Corp., the new COVID-19 case involves a 57-year-old woman who is in stable condition.

According to press secretary Kevin Bautista, the patient is currently in isolation at the Kanoa Resort in Susupe, where she is being monitored by CHCC’s medical team. CHCC has started contact tracing for the patient’s most immediate contacts, which includes close family members, friends, and associates.

The 57-year-old female was confirmed through the CHCC laboratory using the newly-acquired ID Now by Abbott/Alere testing platform. According to CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña, CHCC took six minutes to get the results. CHCC has been working to develop its own testing capabilities. Muña said that through the Abbott ID Now, it can test more specimens based on priorities.

An Office of the Governor statement said that the ID NOW COVID-19 rapid test delivers high-quality molecular positive results in as little as five minutes. It credited the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for purchasing this testing device for CHCC.

In the latest positive case, CHCC tested three specimens for COVID-19: one tested positive and two tested negative.

As of April 18, the CNMI has a total of 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 51 negative, two deaths, and nine recoveries. Additionally, a total of 179 people who were quarantined at the Pacific Islands Clubs in San Antonio and Kanoa Resort have been released. Most of these people were passengers on the last flights to the CNMI before all flights were suspended and the CNMI’s borders were closed.

More test kits for CNMI

Soon after the newest confirmed positive COVID-19 case in the CNMI, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres took to Facebook via a livestream video to announce that the CNMI has received 5,000 test kits in the morning of April 18.

Torres said the goal for this coming week for the test kits is first, to test all first responders, nurses, doctors, and their families.

“Our main goal is to do a mass testing on the island. That will take a little longer, but we want to assure our first responders, doctors, nurses, and their families that we have the test kits that’s needed in order to know where we are at,” he said.

In addition to the test kits’ arrivals, CHCC has also received the PerkinElmer Chemagic 360 machine, which can process about 96 samples in an hour. This is part of CHCC’s efforts to prepare the CNMI’s community-based testing strategy.

Torres said that the construction and renovation of Kanoa Resort to make it into a main alternate care site is moving forward. The plan is to use the Kanoa Resort as a care site should an outbreak happen in the CNMI.

Twelve days ago, construction work on a field hospital at CHCC’s upper parking lot started. As of April 18, the construction is just about done on the electrical side, Torres said.

“The construction has done a tremendous work in what normally takes about a month,” he said. “We are working extremely hard to make it ready just in case the community and our people need it. Again, I hope we don’t need to use it but if we do, it’s here,” he added.

Torres draws attention to how important it is to keep up with good hygiene and social distancing. “I want to thank, CHCC CEO Esther Muña, the Task Force, and all of our first responders,” he added. “Let’s beat this coronavirus together.”

COVID-19 in Guam

Guam press secretary Krystal Paco-San Agustin took to Facebook via a livestream video on April 17 to announce that one person in Guam tested positive for COVID-19.

As of 1pm on April 18, Guam now has a total of 136 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 110 recoveries, and five deaths, according to the Joint Information Center in Guam.

On April 17, the Guam Public Health laboratory tested 22 people. One tested positive for COVID-19 and 21 tested negative. The Guam Medical Hospital tested 10 individuals and all came back negative. As of 9pm on April 18, the Department of Public Health and Social Services tested seven individuals for COVID-19, all coming back negative.

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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