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NMI to begin community-based testing for Covid-19

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(Office of the Governor) — Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther L. Muna announced on Monday that the CNMI will begin community-based testing for Covid-19 at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

The governor’s Covid-19 Task Force has been diligently planning with CHCC to make free Covid-19 testing available for anyone in the CNMI who wishes to be tested. Saipan residents can now register for community testing. Plans for community testing for Rota and Tinian are forthcoming.

People interested in being tested for Covid-19 can request for an appointment for specimen collection on the CHCC website at https://chcc.gov.mp/covid19testing.php or over the phone through the Covid-19 Info Line (numbers listed below).

Registered participants will get their nasal specimen collected at the Saipan airport at their designated time and day.

The arrival and departure areas will be used to accommodate drive-thru specimen collection from registered vehicle passengers. Those who arrive for specimen collection must follow the guidance explained in greater detail below. This specimen collection workflow supports social distancing measures to both reduce the risk of transmission at the testing site and maintain distance between those being tested and the CHCC’s main facility.

Community testing will help us to identify people who may be infected with the virus, especially those who may be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, so we can direct these people to the appropriate care, contain the virus, and prevent its spread using tools such as quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing. Community testing may also help us understand how widespread the virus is in the community.

Testing for Covid-19 is not mandatory. It is another tool to help the Task Force and CHCC detect and contain the SARS-COV2 virus, the virus that causes Covid-19. The Task Force and CHCC note that is important to remember that testing is only a tool to help combat the virus by better containing it.

Getting tested for Covid-19 does not improve response to the illness, nor does it reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting the disease. Our goal is to provide results as quickly as possible within a reasonable time-frame. People who are tested and have a negative result, are still vulnerable to the virus.

Here are the steps to participate in community testing on Saipan:

Step 1. Request a Test

This can be done either online or over the phone. In order to help us facilitate the specimen collection process, we are kindly asking for those desiring to be tested to complete the form online https://chcc.gov.mp/covid19testing.php

If you do not have access to the internet, you may call the CHCC Covid-19 Info Line at any of these phone numbers to register:

285-1352

285-1542

285-1672

285-1854

Please provide a valid phone number as part of your request. We will call that number to schedule your appointment and to give you your test results.

Step 2. Schedule your specimen collection appointment

Once we have received your information online or through the CHCC Covid-19 Info line, the CHCC Community Testing Call-Back Team will contact you directly to verify your information, schedule your appointment, and provide you a Test Number. We recommend that you write your appointment date, time, and Test Number on a piece of paper.

Step 3. Prepare for your specimen collection appointment

Please limit the number of people in one vehicle to a maximum of four passengers. Each passenger must wear a face-covering.

1) Bring your test number provided to you by the CHCC Community Testing Call-Back Team.

2) You must also bring a picture identification document for each participant.

Your ID will be needed throughout the testing process.

This can be a:

o Driver’s License

o Municipal ID

o Passport

o Birth Certificate

o Student ID

Only participants with a registered test number will be admitted. Any additional people and any people who are not yet registered (meaning they do not have a test number) will not be tested. We ask that participants please sit next to a vehicle window that can roll down as part of the testing procedure.

Step 4. Show up to your specimen collection appointment

• Prior to entering the airport departure area, law enforcement officials will confirm your registration by asking for your test ID number and your picture ID.

• You will be required to show your ID throughout the process.

• Your car will be marked "A" or "B."

• At all times, passengers should remain in the vehicle.

Step 5. Wait for your test results

After a specimen is collected from you, it will be processed at the CHCC Laboratory as quickly as possible. Due to the high volume of specimens to be tested, there may be delays.

• Please wait for a call from the CHCC Community Testing Call-Back Team to receive your test results.

• For minors, a CHCC staff member will share results with the minor’s parent or legal guardian. The CHCC will not share results with anyone else.

• While waiting for the call about your test results, and no matter your test results, continue to practice precautionary measures including social distancing and frequent hand washing.

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