The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. reported another COVID-19-related death last Friday, bringing the CNMI’s total COVID-related death tally to 38.
Territorial state epidemiologist Jennifer Dudek confirmed the CNMI’s latest COVID-related fatality during a virtual press briefing last Friday, but she did not provide more details.
“We can confirm the CNMI’s 38th COVID-related death, which will be included in next week’s report. For privacy reasons, we won’t discuss any further information about that case,” she said.
Dudek also shared that, of the 38 COVID-19-related deaths that have been recorded in the CNMI, 20 were unvaccinated, 17 were vaccinated, and one was partially vaccinated.
“To go through the deaths by year, this year (2022) we’ve had 24 deaths so far. In 2021, we had 12 deaths and in 2020 we had two deaths,” she said.
In addition, she confirmed that the CNMI has started to see a decline in COVID-19 cases after a brief surge in the past few weeks.
“We are still at Community Level Medium based off of the cases we’ve had in the last few months. We have had a trend upward as of the beginning of June. As of July 27, there’s been a total of 12,661 COVID-19 positive cases [in the CNMI since the pandemic began]. Our seven-day rolling average is about 22.8 cases per day. We are trending downwards as of the last couple of weeks. We reached as high as almost 240 cases for one week. But in the last two weeks, we have been trending downward. We currently do not have anyone hospitalized,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lily Muldoon, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s medical director of Public Health, said that, although the CNMI continues to see a decline in cases, COVID-19 is still present.
“COVID is still with us in our community. We are seeing it impact all different types of people in various ways. I am optimistic that our COVID trends are currently down trending over the last two weeks. We have been in a small surge, which took our COVID levels up to Community Level Medium as defined by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. So being in Community Level Medium means that we should be wearing masks, making sure that we’re staying up-to-date on our boosters, and just being conscientious of protecting our most vulnerable community members,” she said.
Thanks to the CNMI’s high vaccination rate, the CNMI’s healthcare system has not been overwhelmed by the recent surge, Muldoon said.
“So I would say that during this surge, we have not really seen a large impact of COVID on our health system, which is good. We’ve definitely seen many patients with COVID. We have hospitalized patients over the past months who have had COVID, but we’re not seeing the need to ration or actually seeing a detriment of other health care because we are taking care of too many COVID patients. I can attribute this to our vaccination status. Thank you, CNMI, for continuing to stay vaccinated and up-to-date on your boosters. I think that’s what is protecting us. Many people are making the decision to continue to mask up when inside, even in crowded places, and are looking for COVID treatments. So keep on doing those things that we can keep the CNMI safe,” she said.