‘Lack of surge in COVID-19 cases gives ACS completion more time’

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Posted on Jul 30 2020

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With a prediction that the CNMI will have a surge of COVID-19 cases by mid-May, the Alternate Care Site at Kanoa Resort in Susupe was meant to be done in 30 to 40 days. Yet because the predicted spike in cases has not happened, that gives the CNMI more time to build the facility.

“At the time we were pushing for 30 [to] 45 days construction because, at the time, they were telling us, ‘You’re going to need all of this ready by this date, ‘You’re going to have 5,000 cases and these many hospitalizations,’ so we pushed as hard as we could,” said Patrick Guerrero, the governor’s authorized representative.

Guerrero told lawmakers at the House Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs oversight hearing last July 27 that the revised timeline allowed them to add more features to the ACS. The earliest design of the ACS was that it was going to use ventilators and the quickest way to do that is to use gas cylinders—bring in tanks, connect them to the ventilators, and then bring them back to the Commonwealth Health Center to refill the air. “Now, with more time, we’re looking at purchasing oxygen-producing machines and running lines so that those lines can actually be available at the bedside now and not have to worry about running out of the air and having to run back and forth between CHC and Kanoa,” said Guerrero.

Two months ago, the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and CHC introduced the CNMI to the proposed ACS but it still remains incomplete. The facility was originally set for completion on May 25, which was then moved to May 28. At that time, task force chair Warren Villagomez said that critical medical equipment were still on the way. Now he says the medical equipment are still being put through their paces.

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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