Guam Memorial Hospital is suspending elective surgery, as the facility’s Intensive Care Unit reached its capacity of 14 patients. One operating room will be kept open for emergency cases, with staff and resources redirected to support incoming COVID patients, “particularly those who need ICU and telemetry level of care,” according to a Sept. 20 release.
The hospital is moving non-acute, non-COVID patients to the Skilled Nursing Facility, rerouting administrative nurses to the hospital floors for clinical support and continuing to work with federal partners to request emergency FEMA clinical staff.
An ICU overflow at “Care 2” will be mobilized with staff from the Operating Room and various departments to support additional critical care patients. The Care 2 bed capacity is four.
The Commonwealth Healthcare Center reported an additional two positive cases Sept. 21 for a total of 265. Of those 131 arrived in Saipan from the U.S. mainland, 58 from “a territory” and 38 from international destinations. The NMI has been reporting cases at its borders almost daily.
Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association and the American Medical Center are offering rapid testing from Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Guam for $25 per person per test. Click to register at guamcovid.com
Free testing is available at the Department of Public Health test sites at Tiyan or Community Health Centers.
The Mayors Council of Guam will be phoning residents to encourage them to attend for free COVID testing.
Korean Air is adding a second flight on the Guam-Incheon route in October. Flights will arrive in Guam on Thursday, departing Friday and on Sunday, departing Monday.
Tourist flights from Korea to Guam resumed with a Jeju Air flight on Sept. 18. The B737-800 aircraft carried more than 100 passengers to Guam, according to a Sept. 18 release from the Guam Visitors Bureau.
Grants and funding
The U.S. Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded four contracts totaling $647 million to purchase “over-the-counter” COVID-19 test kits, according to a Sept. 17 release from DoD. Deliveries of the ARPA-funded 10 million test kits will commence October 2021 and ordering capability will continue until September 2022.
Medicaid for Guam will be $133 million for fiscal 2022, to increase by 2.7% per annum, according to Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Guam’s delegate to Congress. He anticipates the match will continue at an 83%/17% sharing.
Medicaid for the Northern Mariana Islands will be $64. 01 million for fiscal 2022, according to a Sept. 18 release from the office of Gregorio “Kilili” Camacho Sablan, the NMI’s delegate to Congress. The local match for the NMI will be lowered from 45% to 17%, but under current law the local match will rise again in fiscal 2022 to 39%. About 38,000 people receive healthcare through Medicaid, according to the release.
Guam has received more than $70,000 in additional federal funds to combat violent crimes against women during the next year, due to the passage and signing into law last year of the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. The law makes the island eligible for a total of $280,000 in additional funding in the next four years, according to a Sept. 20 release from the Office of the Governor.
The Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation has processed the first of five installments for the Advance Child Tax Credit for Guam residents. A total of 15,556 payments totaling $8,499,895 million have been mailed out, according to a Sept. 21 release. Further ARPA-funded payments will be processed Sept. 30, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec.15.
To date, the Government of Guam’s All Rise program for residents earning less than $40,000 for individual 2020 tax filers and less than $80,000 for dual filers processed 9/10/2021 18,236 payments totaling $ 19,499,200 on Sept. 10 and 6,562 payments totaling $ 6,720,800 on Sept. 17.
PRC-funded Pohnpei road opens
A ribbon cutting was held Sept. 17 for the $14.3 million Pohnpei Secondary Road Project in Madolenihmw Municipality, funded by the Peoples Republic of China.
“The Pohnpei Secondary Road Project joins the endless list of practical construction projects funded and constructed by China, such as the Kahmar Bridge and the Chuuk State Government Complex, and will soon be followed by the completion of the forthcoming National Convention Center, directly across from the Office of the President in Palikir, and renovations to the Pohnpei State Government Complex,” according to a Sept. 17 release from the Office of the President.
Upcoming NMI legislation
The House of Representatives of the Northern Mariana Islands Legislature will consider the following bills and resolutions when it goes into session on Sept. 23:
House Bill No. 22-78: To clarify the powers of the CNMI Cannabis Commission and make needed changes to the Commonwealth Code to support adequate development of the Cannabis Industry in the Commonwealth.
HLB No. 22-22: To amend the Saipan Official Zoning Map sheet 05 of 29 to rezone certain districts to Mixed Commercial and for other purposes.
Senate Communication 22-47: (9/14/2021) Returning HB No. 22-31/HS1, To authorize the Department of Public Lands to issue encroachment permits and charge fees for the use of the public lands located within 150 feet of the high water mark, passed by the Senate without amendments on Sept. 14, and transmitted to the governor on Sept. 16.
Sen. Comm. 22-49: Transmitting for House action SB No. 22-19, SD1, To require all gas service stations to provide to the public free compressed air, a gauge for measuring air pressure, and tap water; and for other purposes, passed by the Senate on Sept. 14. [For action]
Sen. Comm. 22-54: Transmitting for House action SB NO. 22-44, SD1, “To authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety to work with private business owners to install video surveillance cameras directed toward the public right-of-way in support of the CNMI’s reporting system; and for other purposes,” passed by the Senate on Sept. 14. [For action]
HB No. 22-3: A Bill for an Act to amend 9 CMC §2101(d) by requiring the motor vehicle liability insurance expiration to be consistent with the vehicle registration expiration; and for other purposes. mbj