‘It has been hard for everyone’

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres delivered a special address on Saturday regarding Covid-19 updates.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres delivers a special address on Saturday to discuss Covid-19 updates.

Office of the Governor photo

“It has been a long last couple of months for us, and I know it has been hard for everyone. This virus has taken a toll on our islands both physically with our health, economically with our budget shortfall, and emotionally with our lives,” said the governor.

He noted the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the islands, the nation, and the global community, adding that “no one could have predicted we would be in a situation like this.”

He said the CNMI is combating two crises: a global pandemic and an economic downturn.

For their service and sacrifices, the governor personally thanked Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna, Covid-19 Task Force Chairman Warren Villagomez, the governor’s authorized representative to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Patrick Guerrero, as well as the Commonwealth’s doctors, nurses, other medical workers, and first responders with the Department of Public Safety, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Cultural and Community Affairs, CNMI Homeland Security, and the various other departments of the CNMI government.

Torres said over the past several weeks, the task force and CHCC have been “hard at work increasing our healthcare capacity through our new field hospital and Alternate Care Site at Kanoa Resort, upgrading our CHCC laboratory, and finalizing our plans for community-based testing with the testing platforms we received from South Korea and the U.S.”

To date, he said, the Commonwealth has had multiple direct charter flights from parts of the U.S. Mainland and parts of Asia “bringing in 40,000 test kits of the 60,000 that we have purchased from South Korea, 70 additional ventilators, [and] medical equipment.”

The flights have also brought in thousands of personal protective equipment, including “48,900 masks, 217,000 gloves, 12,725 isolation gowns, face shields, and hazmat suits, as well as hundreds of thousands on the way for our doctors, nurses, and first responders,” said the governor.

He added that through the Commonwealth’s strong partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense, “our 40-bed Medical Care and Treatment Facility, or MCAT, outside of CHCC will be opened today, Monday, while our Alternate Care Site at Kanoa Resort is scheduled to be operational in mid-May.”

He also expressed hope that the island will not have to utilize this MCAT facility, and emphasized the importance of being proactive by preparing for the worst-case scenario should the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases increase.

Torres said plans for community-based testing are still being finalized.

“Our task force has been doing a walk-through to ensure we are able to test based on the HHS [U.S Department of Health and Human Services] and CHCC’s priorities. Our goal is to test everybody, but we know that our most critical priorities are:

“• Hospitalized patients and healthcare facility workers, our nurses, and our doctors.

“• Our manamko’ and our people with underlying medical conditions.

“• Our first responders.

“• Our government employees providing federal assistance.

“• And essential workers at stores and other critical services.

“We are working to create a scheduling and registration process to ensure that we can carry out this goal, and we want to do it soon. Please continue to follow our updates,” said the governor.

He added that the CNMI government is “doing everything it can to contain this virus by working with the White House, our federal partners, and our health officials.”

As of Sunday, April 26, the CNMI has recorded 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19, two deaths, and 11 recoveries.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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