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Drive-thru tests for Covid-19 start today

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THE Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., in collaboration with the governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, will start the drive-thru community-based Covid-19 tests today, Tuesday, April 28, at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

On Monday, CHCC conducted a dry run for the mass testing at the airport where specimens were taken from first responders and healthcare workers.

“It is always the governor’s initiative to make sure that testing is available for those who want to be tested,” CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said.

The tests are not mandatory, Press Secretary Kevin Bautista said, but added that CHCC will prioritize individuals on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services priority list: healthcare workers, first responders, the manamko’, and hospitalized patients.

Muna said an individual who wishes to be tested has to register at http://chcc.gov.mp/covid19testing.php

A photo identification is required. The registrant will later receive a call from CHCC, which will provide the registrant with an assigned registration number.

“The [ID] doesn’t have to be current. It can be an expired ID. We don’t really care. We just want to know that this is you and you want to be tested. It is open to anyone and is free. Register and show up and we will get back to you with the result,” Muna said.

Regarding the collection of specimens, she said it is limited to four passengers in a car. Two or four nurses may be assigned on both sides of the vehicle to get nasal swabs from individuals.

Similar tests will be conducted on Rota and Tinian, Muna said. “We will be setting up viral transport media to make sure that once they collected [specimens] these will be safely sent to us.”

CHCC uses SolGent DiaPlexQ Covid-19 test kits.

The system can test up to 400 individuals a day, “and we should be able to get the results in two to five days,” Muna said.

“If your result comes back negative, we want you to continue social distancing and practice good hygiene because it is effective,” she added.

She said the governor’s task force is getting more supplies and equipment with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres reiterated that the Covid-19 test is not mandatory, but he encourages members of the community, especially government employees, to get tested.

“I ask for the community’s support and patience…. We have never done this before so it is still a learning process [for CHCC and the task force]. Their intention is to get everybody tested…and they will try to do it as seamless as possible,” the governor said.

He himself has been tested already, but will undergo another test this week.

“Your help in following the directives has really helped flatten the curve. Please continue observing social distancing, practicing good hygiene, and wearing a face mask,” the governor said as he thanked members of the community for their cooperation.

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