CNMI tops list of highest number of COVID cases in the US

Muldoon: The CNMI will soon experience a decline in cases

Dr. Lily Muldoon, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. emergency physician and Public Health medical director, speaks during a COVID-19 protocol forum last Friday at the Kensington Hotel Saipan. (Kimberly B. Esmores)

The CNMI has surpassed Guam and is currently at the top of the list of highest daily COVID-19 cases per population in the entire United States.

During a COVID-19 protocol forum last Friday, Dr. Lily Muldoon, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. emergency physician and Public Health medical director, informed CNMI government officials and private partners that, as of last Friday, the CNMI has made it to the top of the list of highest COVID-19 cases per population of 100,000 across the nation.

According to the chart that the CHCC medical director presented, the CNMI surpassed Guam last Friday with a daily case average of 210.

“Despite having a relatively low daily case average, per 100,000 people, that puts the CNMI at NO. 1. We have surpassed Guam as having the highest case load per population in the entire nation,” she said.

Muldoon said, however, that it comes as no surprise as the CNMI tends to lag behind the entire nation in terms of COVID-19 trends.

She further assured that based on data from the rest of the United States, the CNMI will soon experience a decline in cases in the following weeks.

“This wasn’t surprising to me. We could see this coming because again, we’re a little bit delayed. All of the other states listed here have peaked and they are now on the downtrend. If we look at the 14-day average, over time, the entire U.S. is experiencing a decline in their cases and that’s what’s going to happen here,” she said.

Although the CNMI is currently in the middle of an omicron surge, Muldoon assures that once the CNMI has peaked, “we will see a steady decline” like the rest of the nation.

“Here in the CNMI, we’re continuing to have an increase and we expect in the next couple of weeks, we should start to see a decline in our case load,” Muldoon said.

In the meantime, Muldoon encourages the community to do their part to ensure that the surge is contained to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system.

This means living COVID-19 safe, getting vaccinated and completing vaccinations, staying home when you’re feeling sick, getting tested when you experience COVID-19 symptoms, and seeking treatment when symptoms are severe.

“Omicron data suggests that omicron is less severe but it can still cause hospitalization. Because it is more contagious, if the spread is not contained, the CNMI risks overwhelming its healthcare system. We want to protect and not overwhelm our healthcare system,” she said.

To date, there are eight individuals hospitalized as a result of COVID-19.

For those experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19, Muldoon encourages them to visit the COVID-19 treatment sites located next to the Koblerville basketball court, or the MCATS tent located at CHCC.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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