CHCC switches alert system

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Posted on Apr 21 2020

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The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. has switched its method of monitoring COVID-19 cases from the “Text Illness Monitoring” system to what is called the Sara Alert system. The latter would allow CNMI public health officials to enroll individuals at risk of developing coronavirus infection.

Like the T.I.M system, Sara Alert can inform CNMI public health officials of any symptoms they’re having, giving health officials real-time insights into the virus’ transmission in the community, and will allow CHCC staff to monitor individuals who are exhibiting symptoms of the disease. However, unlike the T.I.M system, which relies on text messaging only, Sara Alert offers multiple access methods, including web, text, email, and phone calls. According to CHCC’s website, Sara Alert will increase the efficiency in tracking potential cases, which will lead to earlier containment of the virus and reducing the “burden on public health resources.”

“T.I.M was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whereas Sara Alert was developed by a not-for-profit organization called MITRE, in collaboration with federal, state and local public health agencies,” the CHCC website states.

Sara Alert is also free and available to the public through the CHCC website.

To date, a total of 244 individuals who have completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine have been released from the Pacific Island Club Saipan isolation site in San Antonio and the Kanoa Resort in Susupe. A total of 118 were released between April 6 and April 12 and another 126 have been released since then.

Press secretary Kevin Bautista earlier said that once an individual completes the quarantine period, CHCC. will issue that individual a certificate indicating that they have successfully completed quarantine.

According to CHCC, its and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force are still working out a test plan for the community and are working to organize a free and open testing option for those who want to be tested.

“It’s important to remember that testing is only a tool to help us [CHCC] combat the virus by helping to contain it. Getting tested for COVID-19 doesn’t improve your body’s response to the illness, nor does it reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting the disease. Even if you’re tested and the result is negative, you are still vulnerable to the virus,” the CHCC statement said.

So far, the CNMI has a total of 14 coronavirus cases, with 51 negatives, nine recoveries, and two deaths.

COVID-19 in Guam

Over the weekend, Guam tested over 16 individuals for COVID-19 and all 16 individuals tested negative.

Last April 18, the Department of Public Health and Social Services tested seven individuals for COVID-19 and all tested negative. On April 19 DPHSS tested nine individuals and the results came back negative.

The DPHSS overall count includes cases that were tested by the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, California, Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, and Diagnostic Laboratory Services.

Guam’s total number of cases remain at 136 with 112 recoveries and six deaths including a USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor.

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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