Mass testing on Rota, Tinian starts

Posted on May 19 2020

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force brought the community-based testing initiative for COVID-19 on Rota and Tinian yesterday.

Additionally, the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services will be assisting CHCC and the COVID-19 Task Force in this endeavor.

The drive-thru testing on Tinian will be held at the Tinian Health Center. On Rota, it will either be at the Benjamin T. Manglona International Airport or Rota Health Center.

According to Esther Muña, CHCC chief executive officer, she trusts her team on Rota and Tinian to do a great job and be able to ship their collection of specimens back to the Commonwealth Health Center laboratory within a day or two.

Any individual who wants to get tested can register at

Those who wish to get tested but have no access to the internet can call the CHCC COVID-19 Info line at (670) 285-1352/1542/1672/1854 between 7:30am and 8am. You must provide a valid phone number to schedule an appointment and to receive your test results.

It is important to note that the testing is only for those who wish to be tested and is not mandatory. This means testing is available for anyone who wants to be tested. Anyone who wants to be tested must have a photo ID, for CHCC to know and ensure that “this is you, and you want to be tested,” Muña said. The ID does not have to be current, and can even be expired.

Testing process

Much like the community-based testing on Saipan, the drive-thru testing will be limited to up to four individuals in a car.

This is because the CHCC staff that will be administering the test is dealing with bodily fluids so that the those in the right, front and back, will be tested, Muña said. Each individual must wear a mask and stay in the vehicle throughout the process, and each individual must have to sit next to a window that can roll down. Individuals who don’t have an ID will not be tested.

As for results, Muña said that its release will depend on how many specimens CHCC can get.

“The…way [the system is set right now] is it can do about 96 [specimens]. We do a run about four times, which results to about less than 400 a day. The viability of specimens can last a few days,” she said in an earlier interview.

Since there is a high volume of testing that’s going on right now, people should allow at least 72 hours after their appointment to call about their results.

While waiting for your test results, it’s highly advised to keep up with social distancing and proper hygiene.

Donation from Taiwan

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios received a donation of 100,000 surgical masks from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan). These supplies have been turned over to CNMI Homeland Security & Emergency Management for distribution.

As part of its “Taiwan can help, health for all” humanitarian assistance, the CNMI was among several United States jurisdictions to receive this donation to support ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.

To date, the CNMI has 21 cases, with seven active cases, 12 recoveries, and two deaths.

COVID-19 in Guam

The Department of Public Health and Social Services tested four individuals for COVID-19 last May 16, with zero results.

To date, there have been 154 positive cases in Guam, with five deaths and 126 released from isolation.

According to the Joint Information Center in Guam, cases are released from isolation under the following conditions: resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms and negative results from two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

Cases that test positive for COVID-19 through follow-up testing return to active isolation. All remaining cases are in isolation.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
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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