SAIPAN — The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. on Thursday started testing its health care workers for COVID-19, said governor's task force chairman Warren Villagomez.

CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña said they used the SolGent DiaPlexQ COVID-19 test kits imported from South Korea, and conducted the tests in a tent that was set up in the upper parking lot of the hospital.

Department of Public Safety, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Department of Corrections, and other government front-line staff and personnel were also tested. 

CHCC Director of Nursing Renea Raho said they also collected specimens from the first responders assigned to the designated quarantine and isolation sites – Kanoa Resort and the Pacific Islands Club.

"We will bring the tests to the rest of the community as part of the governor's initiative for a COVID-19 community-based testing," Muña said, adding that the task force information center will make an announcement.

In addition, she said, CHCC and the task force will bring the viral transport medium to private clinics so they, too, can obtain specimens from their health care workers.

"The governor's COVID-19 Task Force is developing a strategy, which will expand testing to the community," CHCC stated. "At this time, (front-liners and) community members who have an identified level of risk are being tested for COVID-19."

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