Medical Care and Treatment Site opens at hospital

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Monday led the opening of the Medical Care and Treatment Site or MCAT, a facility that will be used to handle coronavirus-related cases, in the upper parking lot of the Commonwealth Health Center.

The MCAT, which has six tents and a total of 40 beds, is part of the CNMI’s preparedness and infection control measure in the event that there is a surge of patients who will need isolated hospital care due to Covid-19, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said.

The Medical Care and Treatment Site, which will handle coronavirus-related cases, is located in the upper parking lot of the Commonwealth Health Center. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“CHCC, in the beginning, was trying to make sure that we have a separation of Covid and non-Covid patients,” she said.

“We are a hospital with a 76-bed capacity so we want to make sure that we are prepared. Healthcare is about always being prepared and making sure that we have the capability to take care of our community and our population,” she added.

Aside from treating Covid-19 patients, Muna said CHCC wants to make sure that it continues to provide other healthcare services, especially for those who have chronic diseases.

Ten beds are already in place in one of the Medical Care and Treatment Site tents. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“These last few days on island, it is not Covid patients who have been dying. We need to also take care of people with chronic diseases,” she added.

For his part, Gov. Torres thanked Northern Marianas College for lending CHCC six tents. He also thanked the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, the Covid-19 Task Force, and the island’s medical team members and first responders.

“Do we want to use it? Absolutely not,” Torres said, referring to the MCAT. “But we want to make sure that in case we need it, it is readily available.”

Enough medical supplies

On April 24, additional medical supplies from South Korea arrived on Saipan, the governor said.

These include 15,000 test kits as well as personal protective equipment or PPEs for healthcare workers and first responders.

The governor said the CNMI now has 70 additional ventilators, 48,900 masks, 217,000 gloves, 12,725 isolation gowns, face shields and hazmat suits, and thousands of PPE.

He said other countries have stopped exporting medical supplies to protect their own people.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres examines an oxygen supply line already installed at one of the tents. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“The U.S. is facing the same challenges like the rest of the world of not having enough PPEs for their first responders,” he noted

But the CNMI has identified and prioritized what it needed by ordering equipment and supplies a month ago, the governor added.

Through the help of FEMA, the medical and laboratory supplies, ventilators, test kits, and others were flown into Saipan.

 “I am confident that our PPEs are enough for our nurses and first responders, but we need more,” Torres said.

“We have more coming. Another shipment is coming in on Wednesday and Thursday and next week,” he added.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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