They had the option of being transported in secure Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority buses, or drive to the facility themselves. At the site, their temperatures were taken at the beginning and end of the tour.
The lawmakers were Senate Vice President Jude Hofschneider, Reps. Ralph Yumul, Sheila Babauta, Luis John Castro, Joseph Flores, Jose Itibus, Richard Lizama, Donald Manglona, and Tina Sablan.
Leading the tour of the facility were Jesse Sablan of Helios Energy & Engineering Group and Samuel McPhetres of Guam Architects, LLC along with Alex Sablan, vice president of Tan Holdings Corp., which owns the hotel, members of the governor’s Covid-19 task force, its chairman, Warren Villagomez, the governor’s authorized representative or GAR, Patrick Guerrero, Press Secretary Kevin Bautista, and public information specialist Thomas John Manglona.
It was explained to the lawmakers that the plans call for different zones for patients and medical staff, several intensive care unit beds, a pharmacy, as well as an air filtration system that allows for cleaner air every five minutes.
Nine CNMI lawmakers participate in a tour of the alternate care site facility at Kanoa Resort on Thursday. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol
The aesthetics of the patient care zones focus on providing comforting views of the outdoors, so as to take away the feeling of being cooped up in an isolated area while providing patients with as much comfort as possible, especially since their loved ones will not be allowed to visit them while they are in isolation.
The number of medical staff will depend on how many patients there are, according to Guerrero. He and Villagomez explained that they have a team ready to go, and that the Medical Reserve Corps is already on-island.
It was also explained to the lawmakers that the facility is temporary, and is adhering to guidelines provided by federal authorities.
The walls within the facility can be taken apart and put together as easy as Lego blocks, according to McPhetres, lead architect and Jesse Sablan, lead engineer.
As for the medical supplies, once the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided and there is no longer a need for the facility, the supplies will be brought to the hospital for its use.
Lawmakers asked several questions throughout the tour, including funding, and overall, were impressed with the progress of the project in a short period of time.
McPhetres and Jesse Sablan emphasized that the alternate care site facility on Saipan is arguably the best in the region.
“Based on what we have heard from the engineers, the chairman of the task force, the GAR, and of course, the property operator, it appears that the CNMI is way ahead in terms of planning on how to combat in the event that we have a spread,” Hofschneider said.
He added, “We are very excited to see the opening of this [facility]. The fact that there are facilities like this in the CNMI brings the CNMI to a whole another level of healthcare. It is my first time here, and it is a very impressive facility.”
Rep. Ralph Yumul, chair of the House Special Committee on Federal Assistance and Disaster Related Funding, said, “I am impressed with the size of the facility. It is bigger than what I expected. I am not sure that we have the staffing level to actually take care of a lot of people, but it is a huge facility. I don't even think that we are going to use it, at the rate that we are going. It does not look like we are going to use a majority of the facility. For something that was put together in a short amount of time, it is what we are dealing with, so I have no concerns.”
McPhetres and Jesse Sablan told the lawmakers that they are welcome to again visit the site at their convenience, adding that projected construction completion date is May 22.