Testing moves to the villages

Posted on Jun 15 2020


The community-based testing being done at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport and other airports in the CNMI was stopped last Saturday to transition to precinct-based testing, this time targeting community members with limited transportation and workers too busy to go to the airport for business-based testing.

According to Warren Villagomez, chairman of the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, the testing site at the airport will also be discontinued and will resume if needed. “If needed in the future, the Commonwealth Ports Authority is very accommodating and willing to accommodate our needs here at the airport,” said Villagomez.

The expansion of the community-based testing initiative will start today, June 15. with the testing to be done on a trailer that’s been retrofitted for this purpose. This means that the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. set up the testing site and bring the trailer there, where it will be easily accessible to people within that community, Villagomez told reporters.

He explained that since some people have limited transportation, the community-based testing team and its partners decided to “reshape their efforts” in order to accommodate more people who have transportation issues.

Additionally, CHCC would also target people with language barriers to ensure that they are being given accurate information.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres echoed Villagomez and added that, moving forward, the task force and CHCC will be looking at other areas such as youth centers that are already in the communities/villages to potentially carry out testing there.

“We’ve also had several private partners, businesses that have offered their location to do village testing,” said Torres.

Additionally, since the lack of manpower means there is preventing efforts to test all villages at the same time, the task force and CHCC will be looking at what area (villages) has not had the higher number of testing. This means that the task force and CHCC will be seeing what villages has the least amount of people who have not gotten tested for COVID-19.

“We are reaching out to all of our other partners to maximize the manpower as we go out to the villages,” said Torres.

ACS passes fire code inspection

The Alternate Care Site at the Kanoa Resort in Susupe has passed the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services’ occupancy fire code inspection last June 8.

According to Villagomez, the ACS passed with “flying colors.”

“We thank the engineer and the contractor, with no other work to put in, and we’re very proud that we met all the guidelines and the parameters to be an adequate facility, as well as a medical facility,” said Villagomez.

Additionally, the placement of medical equipment and a bench check to make sure that all the medical limitations and parameters are within limits have been done. Bench check means to test an engine or other machine or device in a workshop rather than under field conditions.

Villagomez stated that, with Dr. John Tudela’s recommendation, Esther Muña, CHCC’s chief executive officer, will be monitoring what medical staff will be assigned to the ACS.

Villagomez added that both Tudela and Muña are also making sure that the facility and the maintenance of all equipment are done in the same way as at the Commonwealth Health Center. “We continue all our efforts to close up the construction and signing off the occupancy turnover for the ACS,” said Villagomez, adding that the ACS construction is well within the target date.

COVID-19 in Guam

The Department of Public Health and Social Services in Guam have tested 108 individuals for COVID-19 last June 12 and June 13 with conclusive results. Two tested positive and 106 tested negative.

DPHSS tested:

-93 individuals on June 12
-15 individuals on June 13

According to the Joint Information Center in Guam, results included 72 samples from COVID-19 drive-thru testing held at the Merizo Senior Center on June 11.

To date, there have been 185 confirmed cases in Guam, with five deaths, 168 released from isolation, and 12 active cases.

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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