COVID-19 task force now dissolved


The COVID-19 Taskforce, which was created in 2020 as a means to combat the pandemic during its peak, is no more after the current administration decided not to renew the emergency declaration related to COVID-19.

Warren Villagomez, director for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and COVID-19 task force chairman, stated that the COVID-19 Task Force has been officially dissolved since March 4.

Villagomez explained that after discussing the need for a task force with Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and the Department of Homeland Security, it was determined that the CNMI should now transition toward normalcy.

“The task force is no longer in existence since March 4, the same time the declaration expired. With discussions with the governor and Department of Homeland Security, Gov. Palacios basically decided that we’re going to start getting back to normalcy and start basically closing out and making sure there’s no additional commitment as well as expenditures attached to COVID response,” he said.

In addition to the dissolution of the task force, COVID-19 safety protocols have also since been rescinded.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. will also soon take down the COVID-19 response tents at the Commonwealth Health Center parking lot.

Prior to this, the Alternative Care site in Chalan Kanoa was shut down following the expiration of the contract authorizing the use of Kanoa Resort Saipan as an ACS.

According to Villagomez, all the equipment that were procured for the ACS have been stowed at CHC, with some of the equipment replacing outdated ones at the health center.

“All of those equipment that were at the ACS were all transferred over to CHC and some of them will also be used at the Rota and Tinian healthcare centers. That equipment is being stored at CHC under the leadership of CHCC CEO Esther Muna,” he said

“The beds, for example, 95% of the beds used at the ACS have replaced the beds at the CHC. The same way as the air conditioning systems used at the ACS have replaced the ones at CHC, as well as ultraviolet equipment. We took them down and they are safeguarded and they’re going to be utilized by our healthcare facilities on Saipan Rota, and Tinian. Meanwhile, the other equipment that are not being utilized at this time are safely stored in a climate-controlled space so they can be well kept for future use,” he added

Villagomez assures the CNMI community that all the money invested into the ACS will not go to waste as the equipment will still be utilized but now for different needs.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at
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