Since the beginning of the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force’s quarantine mission assignment, the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority has activated its entire fleet of buses and vans in order to safely transport travelers to designated quarantine facilities.
“COTA has played a pivotal role on our COVID-19 Task Force, safely transporting travelers to our designated facilities and ensuring that accommodations are provided to our man’amko, our sick, and our people with disabilities. Lt. Gov. [Arnold I.] Palacios and I commend Special Assistant [for Public Transportation Alfreda P.] Camacho and her staff for their hard work in assisting our first responders,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
In response, Camacho said, “COTA is humbled to serve and do our part to support and protect our community during these challenging times for our Commonwealth. We are proud to be a part of a task force full of agencies that have that same mindset.”
As the CNMI continues its response to this global pandemic, COTA and CNMI first responders intend to stay adaptable to this evolving operation.
“Our initial operations consisted of airport to quarantine facility transports only. With the recent developments, we continue working closely with all the line agencies within the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force as our role expanded to include all transports going into the quarantine zones, no matter where they may originate from,” Camacho added.
According to COTA operations and mobility coordinator Joe Pangelinan, COTA works with the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Public Safety, both under the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, to ensure streamlined communication and on-time pickups.
“We first receive a call from the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, and we are informed of the number of travelers, their pick-up location at the airport, and the pick-up time. We then contact DFEMS and DPS and disseminate that information. Through the three agencies, we align all assets and staff that are needed, and proceed to the pick-up point,” Pangelinan said.
Within this operation, COTA deployed two mini-buses and eight passenger vans. As of April 2, 2020, COTA’s vehicles have safely transported 292 travelers to quarantine facilities in 66 trips. (PR)