Alternate care site at Kanoa 50% complete, official says

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DURING a meeting between the Governor’s Covid-19 task force and the House Committee on Health and Welfare Monday, the governor’s authorized representative, Patrick Guerrero said  the alternate care site facility at Kanoa Resort was roughly 50% complete.

Committee members noted that during the legislative tour of the facility in early May, they were informed by the task force that the facility would be ready by May 22.

“It is now June 29,” said the committee chairman, Rep. Jose Itibus.

Other committee members asked about the current status of the work being done at the site, especially in light of testimony by task force chairman Warren Villagomez that morning.

He said community-based testing has been taking place at the alternate care site at Kanoa Resort.

Villagomez explained that the construction is approximately 95% complete, but work remains pending on the ambulatory exit/entrance and parking lot, among other matters that have yet to be completed.

He added, “There are a couple of HVAC units to install in the same area where we are going to be receiving patients. The building is just around the corner. I think we’ll get all of that done this week.”


 Lawmakers toured the alternate care site at Kanoa Resort in early May. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

Furthermore, he said, the intensive care unit beds and medical equipment are already being brought into the facility for installation.

“Today, that effort is doubled or tripled with three different suppliers bringing in all of the equipment that we’ve ordered and are on-island. That would take about a week to 10 days to put the equipment in,” he said.

Guerrero noted, “We are waiting for a couple of generators and UPS or uninterrupted power supply for the medical equipment, and what we call our EHR or electronic health record computer systems. Some of it is on-island and some of it is on the way.”

Once the equipment is installed and the construction is fully completed, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation medical staff will “learn the ins and the outs of the place, and put together their plan on how they want to run or how to best run the facility,” Guerrero said.

He added that should there be a need for more medical personnel, the U.S. Army has 44 medical personnel who could arrive within two weeks to assist the CNMI.

“If you take all of that into consideration, we’re probably just halfway there. We’ve dealt with a lot of hurdles up to this point. The other half is getting the warm bodies and getting the facility running to the point where people are comfortable to provide care in that facility. We know that there’s a lot of work to do,” he said.

Committee members were concerned with these updates on the alternate care site or ACS, highlighting the ability of the Commonwealth to contain the virus.

Several members expressed concerns with the home quarantine protocols, questioning whether the new protocol arose due to the delay in the completion of the ACS.

Villagomez said the rationale behind the new quarantine procedures that allow for home quarantine is purely based on science.

“It really should be between five and eight days, but we decided that five days would be best,” he said.

The House committee and the governor’s task force agreed to have another legislative tour of the ACS at Kanoa Resort to see firsthand the progress that has been made since the lawmakers’ last visit.

Also present for the discussions on Monday was Homeland Security and Emergency Management special assistant Gerald Deleon Guerrero.

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