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NMI continues to prepare for the worst

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WITH confirmed Covid-19 cases well below what was initially projected for the CNMI, work resumes to prepare for the worst, and this includes the alternate care site at Kanoa Resort.

“The worst thing that we can have is for the government, the hospital, and the task force not to take this [pandemic] seriously and not be prepared, because when that surge hits, and we’re not prepared, our people will die,” Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said during a KKMP radio interview on Wednesday morning.

The governor said the administration has been taking a high-risk approach to the global Covid-19 pandemic since late January when discussions were held between the administration and tourism markets, as well as with the U.S. Congress.

He said there have been hundreds of deaths every day across the globe from this virus due to lack of proper personal protective equipment, or PPE, and medical equipment.

“That is the reason why we have moved mountains, so to speak, to make sure that we will not be in that position ever. Healthcare is always our priority,” the governor said.

“If you look at the pattern of what this government has done, in collaboration with the legislative and judicial branches, there is no price that is too high or no action that is enough to prepare for this kind of pandemic.”

Press Secretary Kevin Bautista said part of the rationale for the alternate care site and all of the PPE that the CNMI is acquiring is the high rate of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer on the islands.

“The CNMI has been deemed as an extremely vulnerable area for Covid-19 infection. The [Federal Emergency Management Agency] also estimated that 3,000 people would have died if mitigation measures were not implemented,” he said.

Torres said in the next week or so, the alternate care site at Kanoa Resort will open.

“We are moving forward. We have ordered equipment and supplies. We are going to have 50 state-of-the-art [Intensive Care Unit] beds. The facility is awesome. The construction firm that was working on it has done a fantastic job, so we will do everything we can to provide supplies, equipment, and manpower, in case we do get the surge,” he said.

The governor added, “We hope we never get to use [the ACS at Kanoa]. Same thing with the [Medical Care and Treatment Facility]. But if the surge does come here we are prepared for it.”

More PPE and medical equipment, including ICU beds, UV lights, and monitors, are due to arrive from California later this week, the governor said.

In closing, he noted that negotiations are still underway between his authorized representative, Patrick Guerrero, Pacific Islands Club, and Kanoa Resort for the potential extension of the respective contracts of the two business establishments.

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