COVID facility is shut down


The Alternative Care Site that was previously housed at the Kanoa Resort Saipan has been completely taken down as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have decreased in the CNMI.

Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Esther Muña has officially confirmed that the ACS site at Kanoa Resort has been taken down because COVID-19 no longer poses a huge threat to the CNMI community, and because the National Public Health Emergency that was declared to combat the pandemic has not been renewed.

“In the CNMI, COVID-19 community levels have been consistently low for months now. So the threat is no longer there to keep the tents that are already deteriorating anyway,” she said.

Around the same time last year, CHCC officially placed the Alternative Care Site at Kanoa Resort in a “warm” state, essentially closing the ACS facility but leaving the site on standby in case of another COVID-19 surge.

Muña said that putting the ACS in a “warm” state was the best decision at the time, as opposed to the alternative, which was completely shutting it down, because it kept the CNMI prepared for whatever COVID-19 variant may pop up next.

However, today, a year later, CHCC has completely shut the ACS down as the world transitions into treating the once deadly virus as endemic instead of a pandemic.

Back in 2020, the ACS was established to protect the CNMI community from a COVID-19 spread by separating COVID-19 positive patients from the main hospital.

The ACS was created after the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projected that the CNMI would see 6,000 COVID-19 cases by June 2020. Fortunately that did not happen.

When the CNMI Office of the Governor asked what hotels would be willing to host the ACS, Tan Holdings Corp., which owns Kanoa Resort, stepped forward and allowed the transformation of Kanoa Resort into a state-of-the-art Alternative Care Site. The contract to use Kanoa as an ACS expired last October 2022 and has not been renewed.

The ACS was officially unveiled to the public in October 2020.

The ACS took up the entire left side of the hotel lobby and was equipped with about 50 to 70 intensive care unit beds and over 115 mid-level care rooms.

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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