Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force receives approval from OIA for specialized medical equipment  

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(Office of the Governor) — The Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force has received approval from the Office of Insular Affairs, under the Department of the Interior, to acquire an oxygen generator system and UV-C lights with HEPA filters.

The approved specialized equipment totaled $487,182, which represents 12.05% of the total grant award of $4,042,585.

“The acquisition signifies a critical step in improving and hardening the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation’s access to oxygen generation to treat Covid-19 patients. It will also improve and harden infection reduction systems at the CHCC facility to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infections,” said Task Force Chairman Warren F. Villagomez.

Under the CNMI Territory Action Plan or CTAP, the CNMI leadership has set out a path of planning to address the Covid-19 pandemic in the Marianas. The Governor’s Covid-19 Task and CHCC have prioritized several projects to address the critical needs of the hospital to treat Covid-19-related illnesses. The CTAP is led by CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther L. Muna and Special Assistant for Homeland Security & Emergency Management Gerald J. Guerrero. Other key members of the planning committee include representatives from FEMA, key management and physicians from CHCC, the Office of the Governor, the Public Assistance Office, and the Office of Grants Management and State Clearinghouse.

“The overall goal of this project is the improvement of standard quality health care at CHCC through the use of reliable medical equipment for treatment of patients and trained personnel to maintain and safely utilize a new Oxygen Generator System and Infection Reduction System during this Covid-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.

The medical equipment will further assist CHCC reach a level of compliance per regulations under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It will address both sections under §482.41 Condition of Participation: Physical Environment and §482.42 Condition of Participation: Infection Control.

“During the pandemic, Covid-19 patients require the purest quality and safest oxygen therapy their body needs to fight this respiratory infection. To gain momentum in reducing the spread of Covid-19 infection, CHCC needs to ensure that the air in the facility especially in-patient room is equipped with infection reduction system which will treat the air by killing bacteria and viruses,” said CHCC CEO Esther L. Muna.

“This is a critical need for the ongoing operation. We need to maintain and improve the hospital’s facilities and equipment, especially at this juncture of the pandemic. The CNMI needs to be prepared and ready should we experience a large spike in patients testing positive for the virus,” said Special Assistant for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Gerald J. Deleon Guerrero.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios expressed their gratitude to the Office of Insular Affairs for the approval in federal funds and for the tireless efforts by first responders and medical workers in working to improve facility conditions at CHCC and the overall health standards for our community.

“Our curve remains flat, and we are fortunate that we have not had severe numbers of hospitalizations. However, we need to push onward and be equipped to handle this virus. At the same time, we are ensuring accountability and transparency of these federal dollars from OIA,” said Governor Torres.

The next priority project for the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force is to address the retrofitting of a new reverse osmosis system at the CHCC facility and to acquire Sterilization System equipment.



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