US Territories’ February 19-25, 2018 news week in tweets

by Feb 26, 2018News Week in Tweets0 comments

US Territories Leading Switch to Solar Energy

Solar Power is essential to the US Territories rebuilding after the natural disasters of the past 9 months. Puerto Rico in particular is dedicated to expanding the solar grid across the islands. Technology powerhouse Tesla has called Puerto Rico an area of opportunity to expand solar and Governor Ricardo Rosselló supports the expansion of solar and other renewable energy sources across the territory. Guam officials have implemented 17 projects related to deploying solar and renewable energy across the territory in 2018. Solar infrastructure planning and a notable increase in orders for solar-powered refrigeration and water sanitation products indicate a growing solar community in the US Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas Islands are at the forefront of discussions concerning the future of solar as “necessary to sustainable power.”

531 USVI Residents Evacuated for Medical Needs Since 2017

Since Irma and Maria struck in September of 2017, 531 residents of the US Virgin Islands have been airlifted to other US jurisdictions for medical attention. Many were already critically ill, but only 41 have died. The National Disaster Medical System that has been in place for years made these 490 rescues possible.

Guam Lowers Hurdles for Nurse Practitioners

Guam Governor Eddie Calvo signed legislation updating the Nurse Practitioner Act, allowing nurse practitioners direct access as primary care physicians to their patients. Since 2007, the number of nurse practitioners nationally has nearly doubled from 120,000 to over 234,000 according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Before, a primary care physician would need to approve a nurse practitioner’s decision to prescribe medications, but the field has boomed and there aren’t enough primary care physician’s to monitor nurse practitioners capable making diagnoses for themselves; as put by Senator Mary Camacho Torres, “Our people need a higher number of healthcare providers.” Giving nurse practitioners more clearance does just that. Guam is joining the District of Columbia and 22 of the US states that already give nurse practitioners “full practice authority,” with Pennsylvania and North Carolina expected to make similar changes in 2018. Joyce Knestrick, President of the AANP, said “Guam has taken a critical step to put patients first.”

Doctor Claims is Maria Still Indirectly Killing Puerto Rico’s Residents

A volunteer group of doctors made their way to the secluded town of Vieques, Puerto Rico in early February. Vieques was still without power and had received little to no aid as communication services there remain unreliable. Dr. Bilal Khan of Norwalk Hospital was among the volunteers, who treated 1,200 people in three days. Khan believes Maria is still indirectly causing deaths all over Puerto Rico as people in secluded areas perish from untreated injuries/medical conditions, lack of food and water, and the crippling depression that can accompany those things.

Fishermen Rescued Near Guam after 8 Days

A skiff carrying 3 fishermen, equipment, and some food were declared missing when it did not return from Chuuk Lagoon. Sailors from the third Patrol Squadron of the U.S. Navy travelled to Guam from Kedena air base and searched by air for the fishermen. The three men were found adrift in the Pacific Ocean, where they’d been for 8 days. PS-3 dropped a rescue kit with food, water, medical supplies, and communications equipment to the stranded men, who were picked up by a police vessel shortly after.

Hawaii Volunteers Deploy to American Samoa

Two Hawaiian American Red Cross volunteers have deployed to American Samoa to help with the islands’ reconstruction after Tropical Cyclone Gita. No deaths or injuries were reported as caused by Gita, but most of American Samoa’s infrastructure was destroyed. The American Red Cross has distributed more than 2,400 emergency supply items across the island and volunteers plan to open a service center on American Samoa by the end of February.

FBI Searches Marianas Property for Bodies

The Department of Public Safety conducted a 15-20 man search of a Koblerville property on February 19, believing a previous resident by the name of Joseph Crisostomo murdered two young girls in 2011 and buried them in the yard. The girls went missing of May 2011, and though Crisostomo was in jail for a separate murder until December of 2011, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho signed the warrant allowing the FBI to search the house of Crisostomo’s mother in Koblerville. Attorney Janet King said the FBI and police, “destroyed the property, dug up land, damaged concrete… broke a water pipe [and] cut trees.”