Embattled Northern Marianas hospital may lose 17 nurses

9:04 pm on 16 September 2020

The Northern Marianas lone hospital may lose 17 nurses and radiology technician because their work visas have expired.

Saipan in the Northern Marianas.

Saipan in the Northern Marianas. Photo: Supplied

The Commonwealth Heallth Center, which has to constantly battle funding and staffing issues, has employed the 18 personnel for many years.

Governor Ralph Torres' appealed to the US Labor Secretary, Eugene Scalia, in the hope the visas may be extended, requesting that he might grant temporary labour certificates for the workers.

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, which in the CNMI has claimed two lives from 61 people infected, hospital staff were needed more than ever.

The territory has seen its Covid-19 cases rise to 61 with yet another passenger testing positive for the coronavirus upon arrival. The person has been moved into isolation.

Thirty-five cases had now been identified through port of entry screening procedures and of those 24 were from the US mainland, seven from Guam and three from another foreign country.

Meanwhile the CNMI economy was expected to remain in the doldrums until mid-2021 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government said the current revenue projection for fiscal year 2021 is about $US144 million, or $100 million less than what was initially expected at the beginning of they year.

The tourism industry is not expected to be back until mid year as airlines are still cautious about starting regular flights to the CNMI.