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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Saipan reports three new Covid-19 cases

On Saturday, the CNMI received critical medical supplies and equipment, as well as a 50-bed federal medical station from the Strategic National Stockpile. Photo courtesy of the Office of the CNMI Governor

Saipan- With three new patients who tested positive, the CNMI now has a total of 11 Covid-19 cases, according to the CNMI government.

Of the three new Covid19 cases, two are male, ages 45 and 53, and one is 53-year-old female.

These patients are being closely monitored by the Commonwealth Health Corp.'s medical teams at the Kanoa Resort, the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force identified quarantine location, the CNMI government said.

"The CHCC has already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts (close family members, friends, and associates) of these new confirmed cases," according to the Office of the CNMI Governor. "CHCC continues to work with the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force to expand designated isolation areas to closely monitor the well-being of individuals with symptoms.

As of April 8, the CNMI has submitted 45 specimens for Covid-19 testing. Of these 45 specimens, 37 have been processed, resulting in 11 positive specimens, 27 negative specimens, and one indeterminate result that will be retested. CHCC awaits the results of six specimens from the Guam testing laboratory.

On Saturday, the CNMI received critical medical supplies and equipment, as well as a 50-bed federal medical station from the Strategic National Stockpile.

The supplies, requested by CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres, came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Defense,.

CNMI officials received the supplies at the Saipan International Airport. They were shipped by the U.S. Air Force C17 Globemaster Aircraft.

Last month,Torres notified FEMA and DoD of several unmet needs that are negatively impacting the CNMI’s overall responsiveness in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, the governor initiated the Defense Support of Civil Authorities process through his request to US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral Phillip Davidson for the immediate deployment of key essential resources to the CNMI.

“I am requesting the Department of Defense under your immediate response authority for the instant deployment of key essential resources,” Torres said in his letter to Admiral Phillip Davidson on March 30.

The key resources the governor requested include, but are not limited to:

· Field Medical Hospital with beds,

· Medical Team(s)

· Medical equipment and capabilities

· Lab Testing Capabilities with BioFire Test Kits

· Airlifts to bring in Viral Transport Media and other medical supplies and equipment, inclusive of all relevant DoD capability to supplement and support the facilitation of local efforts against COVID-19

In response to the Governor’s request, Davidson immediately activated the Defense Coordinating Officer West to actively participate in the Governor’s Unified Command Group, comprised of his Covid-19 Task Force, the Commonwealth Health Care Corporation, Homeland Security & Emergency Management Services, in partnership with FEMA.

“I completely understand the urgency of your requests and the unique challenges that CNMI faces. We have activated Harry Elliott as the DCO West to provide CNMI support to establish Mission Assignments addressing your needs,” Admiral Davidson said in his letter to Torres.

The admiral also informed Torres that Major General Suzie Vares-Lum of USINDOPACOM will be coordinating with FEMA Region IX Administrator Bob Fenton to support the CNMI. Rear Admiral John Menoni, Commander of Joint Region Marianas, will provide additional support on the local level.

“I am committed to assisting you through this crisis. We will provide any assistance possible. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and my team,” assured Davidson.

The activation of DCO West, in partnership with FEMA, would augment local efforts by the Governor’s Task Force and the Commonwealth Health Care Corporation to combat COVID-19. DCO Harry Elliott is now actively participating with the Governor’s Unified Command Group and FEMA in identifying mission assignments. The Governor and Rear Admiral Menoni are synchronizing efforts to ensure efficient operations.

The shipment is part of President Donald J. Trump’s Whole-of-America response initiatives, mobilizing full federal support through the White House Coronavirus Task Force to assist states and territories across the nation. This initiative provides for medical resources that are first sent to priority countries identified by FEMA and HHS.

“The fact that this is a global pandemic all across the United States and territories, including us here, and everyone is requesting for the same medical resources makes it a national challenge. But with the strong partnership we have with our federal partners, we are able to get this shipment here. Every little help goes a long way and I would like to thank President Trump, FEMA, HHS, DoD, and all the partners who are supporting the CNMI in this fight,” Torres said.

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