Saipan’s testing rate at 10%

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Posted on May 28 2020

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As of yesterday, May 27, and based on the assumption that the CNMI population stands at 50,000, 10% of Saipan’s population has already taken advantage of the free mass testing for COVID-19 at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

Esther Muña, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer, stated that Saipan is currently at a 10% testing rate for COVID-19, which is higher than almost all jurisdictions in the United States.

“Right now, our current testing rate is at 10% for Saipan, and if we can reach the same [number] for Rota and Tinian, then that’s a good number [because] it is high than almost all the jurisdictions in the United States on the percentage of testing based on population,” said Muña.

This means, she said, that the CNMI has done a tremendous job with encouraging the community to get tested since previous cases have shown up through contact tracing and/or the community-based testing.

Muña hopes to reach the same rate for both Tinian and Rota and, with the current data that’s provided by the CHCC’s official website, both islands appear to be heading in the same direction.

The U.S. Census’ last count in 2016, as provided by the CNMI Department of Commerce, shows that Rota’s population is about 2,635 and Tinian is about 3,056.

CHCC’s official website’s data shows that 326 individuals out of 2,635 on Rota have been tested for COVID-19 and 234 individuals out of 3,056 have been tested for COVID-19 on Tinian.

Additionally, Muña stated that should the CNMI open its boarders on July 15, the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, CHCC, and the governor’s authorized representative will be coming up with another plan to ensure that the community will be safe.

“When July 15 comes, if that’s [still] the target date and we accomplish that, we are going to make sure that what we’re doing is going to be safe for this community,” said Muña.

Muña also stated that with the SolGent test kits from South Korea getting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, it “changes the game,” and it is something that will be offered to anyone arriving on Saipan.

“We’re going to be working with the COVID-19 Task Force and the [Governor’s Authorized Representative], to ensure that we have this process perfect for safety,” Muña added.

Although home isolation isn’t ideal as of now, but with the easing of restrictions and the island potentially opening up its boarders on July 15, home isolation could be a possibility moving forward. Muña believes that it can happen once the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force has a better understanding of what’s in the community.

“As we continue to ramp up our contact tracing and better understand what’s in our community, that could be a possibility,” said Muña. As of now, home isolation is not a possibility.

To date, the CNMI has 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 13 recoveries, two deaths, and seven active cases.

COVID-19 in Guam

The Department of Public Health and Social Services tested 64 individuals for COVID-19 last May 26. Two tested positive and 62 tested negative, and one new probable case of COVID-19 reported to DPHSS. The case tested positive through serology testing at Diagnostic Laboratory Services and was classified as a probable case.

To date, Guam has 170 COVID-19 cases, five deaths, 143 released from isolation, and 22 active cases.

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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