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Task force seeks lawmakers’ support in promoting precinct testing

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THE chairman of the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, Warren Villagomez, appeared before the House Committee on Health and Welfare on Monday to seek the help of lawmakers in expanding testing into the precincts.

“I'm very excited to be in this body because the plan for the next forward movement of community testing is precinct testing,” he said. “I want to bring [to the attention of] this body that we need assistance at the precinct level to coordinate precinct level testing, to embrace and engage with our community and to promote testing within precincts.”

He added, “I want to see, and maybe through the task force member, [the committee chairman, Rep. Jose Itibus], if he can guide the task force as a point of contact here at the Legislature to initiate the precinct testing [and to] best identify the vulnerable population within precincts.”

 

The governor’s Covid-19 task force members met with the House Committee on Health and Welfare on Monday to discuss updates regarding the CNMI response to the global pandemic. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

Villagomez said the criteria for vulnerable populations include persons with transportation challenges and language barriers.

“We need to bring our community members who have not been tested to be tested,” he added.

Community-based testing, he said, is currently taking place at Kanoa Resort.

“We haven’t shut down testing. Just yesterday, we were doing community-based testing at Kanoa with coordinated efforts with the business community. It’s still moving forward,” he added.

As of June 26, the CNMI had recorded 30 confirmed Covid-19 cases and two deaths. Through the community-based testing initiative, 7,195 specimens had been collected on Saipan, 458 on Tinian, and 564 on Rota.

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