New NMI quarantine regs coming
In the June 18 news conference of Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres, Esther Muna, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., said new quarantine procedures will be unveiled soon. “We are working on developing that and we’ll likely have it out today in regards to the new protocols that will take place.” [No regulations had been issued as this Newsflash went out towards the end of the afternoon.
Warren Villagomez, chairman of the COVID-19 task force, provided an update on the number of PPEs the NMI has at its disposal. “Our stockpile is good for the next three to four months,” Villagomez said.
The NMI Department of Labor launched open registration for residents to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation on June 17.
Victoria I. Benavente, secretary of the NMI Department of Labor, said her office is minimizing the amount of human contact by offering a drive-through process from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday to Friday at DOL for picking up and submitting paper applications.
The Joeten-Kiyu Public Library is also providing assistance for residents by appointment to complete and submit paper applications.
Additionally, the Northern Marianas College is in the process of gradually reopening its campus, despite summer classes being held online.
Frankie M. Eliptico, interim president of the Northern Marianas College, said about 20% to 30% of its employees have returned to work on campus, while the others remain working from home.
For its fall semester, a “blended” or “hybrid” approach is being considered on a case by case basis for its classes. “There are some classes that need that in-person elements and those classes will then have components of the semester in person,” Eliptico said.
Students seeking assistance will be allowed on campus starting June 29 by appointment only.
Torres said Robert Arrington, who runs the YouTube channel Deer Meat For Dinner, will visit the Northern Mariana Islands with his family for about two months to promote the islands. Arrington previously visited in 2018 and filmed videos of his experience in Rota.
Arrington has secured COVID-19 test kits for himself and his family, according to Torres. His arrival is scheduled for June 20.
Air Force personnel test positive; Frank Cable sailors let loose, AAFES still limiting hours
Seven service members that deployed to Andersen Air Force Base on May 25, were confirmed positive with COVID-19 on June 12, according to a June 17 release. The seven were initially lodged at the Guam Reef Hotel, but have since relocated to Andersen, together with other members of their unit. .
All service members assigned to the unit were placed in isolation and have since been relocated to Andersen AFB where they are under medical observation.
In other military news, personnel from the USS Frank Cable submarine tender who were sequestered by the Navy on the vessel in April have been released, according to Journal sources.
U.S. military bases have been easing restrictions nationwide in accordance with U.S. Department of Defense guidelines.
However, the Air Force Exchange Service still has restricted access.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Crisp of the Andersen Public Affairs Office told the Journal, “We are still on limited hours.” The exchange is also limiting the number of people who can enter, he said.
Wages a year ago were lower in Guam
Workers in Guam had an average (mean) hourly wage of $17.75 in May 2019, or about 31% below the nationwide average of $25.72, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported June 16. After testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 21 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management, computer and mathematical, and legal.
The report can be found at www.bls.gov.
Migrant numbers from FAS areas grow
Migrant numbers to Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands grew by about 68%, according to Census Bureau data and a 2018 enumeration.
Numbers rose from about 56,000 to about 94,000 from 2005 to 2018, according to a Government Accountability Office report released June 16. An estimated 50% of migrants live on the U.S. mainland, the report said.
Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands track and report the financial costs related to compact migration, or Compact impact. “These areas reported estimated costs totaling $3.2 billion during the period fiscal years 2004 through 2018. In fiscal years 2004 through 2019, Hawaii, Guam, and the CNMI received a combined total of approximately $509 million in federal grants to help defray the costs of providing services to compact migrants,” the report said.
GAO visited Guam, the NMI and Hawaii as well as the states of Arkansas, Oregon and Washington, and discussed with officials the “effects of providing public education and health care services to Compact migrants.” The report also recognized that such migrants contribute through taxes, workforce contributions and so on. It can be found at www.gao.gov.
Jurisdictions are supposed to report impact annually. The NMI has not submitted a Compact impact report since fiscal 2003, but reports Compact impact costs to the U.S. Department of the Interior in the NMI’s annual plan for the use of Compact impact grants, GAO said.
Federal annual payments re Compact Impact are also listed.
USCIS to publish revised CW form
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will publish June 18 [June 19 CHamoru standard time] the revised I-29CW or Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Worker and instructions. That version of the form will be the only one accepted. The form is used by employers for NMI CWs or foreign workers.
On May 14, USCIS published the interim final rule of the Northern Mariana Islands Workforce Act of 2018.