CNMI corrections staff and inmates test negative for COVID-19

CNMI Official Seal (PNC file photo)

CNMI Corrections Commissioner Wally Villagomez announced Wednesday that all employees, officers, and inmates of the CNMI Department of Corrections (DOC) have all tested negative for COVID-19.

According to Commissioner Villagomez, DOC employees took initiative by registering for testing when the Community-Based Testing Initiative began operations.

“I am truly proud to say that the Department of Corrections’ employees have all tested negative for COVID-19. DOC further took steps and initiated communication with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) and approval by Governor Ralph DLG. Torres to conduct testing on all inmates. We are pleased to report that all inmates have tested negative for COVID-19,” said Commissioner Villagomez.

As part of its ongoing initiative to reach out to vulnerable and at-risk populations, CHCC
collaborated with DOC to collect specimens from over 100 inmates and staff for testing.

“Inmates are among the most vulnerable populations that can be infected with COVID-19, and since we had implemented the community-based testing, we collaborated with DOC to bring the testing to them. On May 14, our nurses collected 166 specimen from DOC, which included the inmates and staff,” said CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther L. Muña.

Responding to concerns raised by media partners and community members, Commissioner
Villagomez assures that the CNMI Department of Corrections is 100% COVID-19 free.

“The hard work and effort contributed by the officers and employees of the Department of
Corrections, in collaboration with the Department of Public Safety, Department of Fire and
Emergency Medical Services, CHCC, other government agencies, and the COVID-19 Task Force, under the leadership of the Governor and Lt. Governor, shows to prove that we are Marianas Strong,” he said.

“We are squashing COVID-19, and the Governor’s executive orders and emergency operations have significantly addressed preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19,” he added.