Medical workers, first responders assured of PPEs

Posted on Apr 13 2020

With the community’s cooperation, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is positive that the CNMI will be able to beat the COVID-19 threat on the islands.

“We’re [going to] beat this, but we just need everybody’s patience and cooperation,” the governor said in an interview.

And until everyone “work together in addressing this virus together,” it could take a long time before the community lives without the threat of COVID-19 on the islands, he added.

The CNMI currently has 11 positive cases, with two deaths.

“It is important for all of us to learn from what’s going on around the world,” Torres said, adding that neighboring Guam is struggling, and even states like New York is not having enough personal protective equipment for its nurses and doctors.

“If we don’t help each other, we’re no different than anybody else,” Torres said.

To ensure the CNMI would be able to avoid such a struggle, the COVID-19 Task Force has ordered equipment and supplies, including test kits, from weeks ago, which the government is hoping to receive by next week, on top of the shipments that have been coming in since Saturday.

“We’ve ordered close to 500,000 masks. We’ve ordered close to 400,000 gowns for our doctors and nurses and first responders, [and] we’ve already ordered about 50,000 test kits,” he said.

The hardest part of the procurement process is the shipping and getting the orders into the islands, Torres said.

South Korea also sent Federal Drug Administration-approved test kits to the CNMI, according to the governor.

“We have enough supplies for our doctors and nurses, as well as our first responders. A chartered flight will be coming in, one [last] Saturday and then [last] Sunday. This will definitely sustain us for a good month, but we continue to move forward in making sure that our orders come in,” he said.

He stressed the need to take care of the CNMI’s frontliners: its nurses, doctors, and first responders. “We are preparing everything we can to make sure that they are taken care of…then they are able to, in turn, take care of us, our community,” Torres said.

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at
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