Quarantined person complains about cold food, dirty bathroom, among other things

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A LOCAL resident who returned recently to Saipan is complaining about the cold food, unsanitary hallway and dirty bathroom at Kanoa Resort where he and 122 other individuals are quarantined.

He also said that there are no health workers checking on the condition of the quarantined individuals.

He said returned to Saipan on July 27 and his first PCR test was negative, but the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force decided to quarantine him at the hotel.

He presented a PCR test from the place where he came, but he said the task force told him that it was accepting PCR tests done between three and six days. “If the test is outside that window, it means quarantine.”

The resident said he understands the importance of quarantine, but added that the conditions at the isolation site may compromise his health. 

“All meals have been served cold, like hours old and not as if they have been chilled…they leave the meals that we are to eat on the floor,” he said in an email to Variety.

He recounted that he was provided a sandwich with grains of sand or pebbles in it while his next meal had hair in it.

“I had diarrhea on the morning of the 28th,” he said.

In an email, he asked the Bureau of Environmental Health to inspect Kanoa’s kitchen and serving practices.

He said he was also bitten by bugs on his first night at the quarantine site.

“I was bitten at least three times during the night by insects while trying to sleep in my bed. These were not flying insects.  They were crawling in the bed when I found them on the morning of the 28th.  I requested a new room on multiple occasions.  They did finally get me new linen and I got bedbug treatment yesterday from Brabu,” he said.

At first, they were not given fresh linen and the bathroom was dirty on the day of arrival, the resident noted.

“Nobody has checked my health in person,” he added. But he received a call, which is an automated voice-generated machine, and was asked to answer “yes” or “no” if he had a set of symptoms.

He said they are not allowed to leave their rooms.

He said he has complained to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Office of the Attorney General, but was told that the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the task force are running the operation at the quarantine site.

“The front desk has done very little about my complaints and suggestions,” he said.

He said he may petition for a writ of habeas corpus as he believes that the task force has been violating his constitutional rights.

“I'm very worried because people have died in quarantine. There's nobody cleaning up and it's disgusting. They leave the meals that we are to eat on the floor. Do prisoners over at the Department of Corrections have better conditions than here?” he asked.

Covid-19 Task Force chairman Warren Villagomez said they are addressing the individual’s concerns, especially regarding food preparation and sanitation.

“We are taking care of those concerns, and we did communicate with Kanoa Resort in regards to preparing food and the manner they serve it,” he added.

“We will remind the [hotel] occupants to bring their chairs out so their food could be placed on them.”

As for the bed bugs, Villagomez said it was an isolated case. “We are also addressing that concern right now.”

Villagomez at the same time appealed for understanding, saying  they are now accommodating more people at the hotel with not enough manpower.

Press Secretary Kevin Bautista, for his part, said, “The task force takes inquiries like these seriously and has been in direct communication with the Kanoa Resort staff on duty to ensure that any incident like this is addressed. We understand that this is also an isolated incident, as we have not received concerns like these since we began the quarantine process. We continue to be accommodating of our returning residents in quarantine, while also maintaining the strongest response to Covid-19 in the Pacific. The goal remains the same for the CNMI, and that is to stop the spread of Covid-19 at the borders and protect the lives of everyone in the Marianas."

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