With 40,000 test kits that arrived last week from South Korea, on top of the 20,000 kits that arrived earlier, the CNMI is getting ready to conduct community testing for coronavirus and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said that the CNMI stands ready to help Guam if it needs assistance with testing.
“We are a 100% ready for anybody…that needs to be tested,” Torres said.
With the shipment from South Korea increasing the Commonwealth Health Care Corp.’s laboratory capacity to facilitate on-island testing, Torres said the mechanism for mass testing is now being readied.
Along with the test kits and the machine for using them, a clinical pathologist from South Korea also arrived on Saipan to carry out equipment regulation and test quality assurance and quality control of the test kits.
The governor also spoke of a new high peak in the CNMI that would fall in mid-May, “roughly May 20 that week,” based on the latest trajectory by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The previous model placed the peak in mid-June.
“If we follow that model, that means we’re not listening to social distancing, we’re not following what is being advised. If we’ll do our share, then we can plan that trajectory and have less casualty and fatality,” Torres now says.
Torres reiterated his appeal to the community to follow social distancing and hygiene protocols, so the CNMI could avoid that trajectory.
Further, with more test kits now on island, the governor is extending an offer of aid to Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “We’re always here. We’re always here to help,” Torres said.
The governor expressed appreciation to Leon Guerrero, and extended the CNMI’s help to the territory, with its growing number of novel coronavirus cases.
“Our test kits here, it’s going to take a few days before we start operation. I hope that we don’t get to use it, not all of it, but my assistance to her [Leon Guerrero] is always there,” he added.
The governor said he has remains in contact and has been working with Leon Guerrero since the day of the outbreak.
“I want to thank Gov. Lou for everything that she’s helped the CNMI, and I want the CNMI to know that all of our test kits, all of our specimens that we sent to Guam have been prioritized,” he said. “Despite all the challenges that they were going through, they made sure that the specimens that are sent [from] here are addressed and are given back to us in a very expeditious fashion.”
For the past few months, Guam has been helping the CNMI with COVID-19 testing, with CHCC sending specimens to the Guam Public Health Laboratory for analysis.