The CNMI’s Department of Corrections has seen a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in its facility, with over 50 inmates testing positive last week.
Patrick C. Guerrero, the governor’s authorized representative, confirmed the recent surge in COVID-19 cases at DOC during last Friday’s COVID-19 forum at Kensington Hotel Saipan, saying the Office of the Governor called for the sanitization of the DOC facility last week after over 50 inmates tested positive for COVID-19.
“We had [DOC] sanitized this past week as we did get more inmates test positive. Currently we have over 50 to 60 inmates taken out of the Department of Corrections so as not to infect the other inmates and we continue to disinfect the facility to ensure everyone’s health and safety,” he said.
Guerrero further stated that DOC was sanitized about 30 days prior to the recent removal of inmates due to the last spike in COVID-19 cases within the facility.
Saipan Tribune later that day tried to ask DOC Commissioner Wally Villagomez for a statement on the new batch of COVID-19 positive inmates but he declined to give one.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Warren Villagomez, Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force chair, he said the inmates had to be placed at the Mariana Resort in Marpi instead of having them sequestered at Mango Resort, similar to the previous batch of COVID-19 positive inmates.
He explained that aside from Mango Resort not having the capacity to accommodate this new batch of inmates, Marpi is also a better fit for the safety of the community.
“Mariana Resort is the best possible decision for the safety and well-being of the community, and to also ensure that security is not compromised because the number of COVID-19 positive inmates is higher than what can be accommodated in Mango Resort,” he said.
As a result of the move, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., in tandem with the COVID-19 Task Force, has moved all scheduled COVID-19 tests that were to be conducted at Mariana Resort to the COVID-19 treatment site in Koblerville.