CNMI reports a man in quarantine has died of ‘suspected’ COVID-19

CNMI Governor and the CHCC held a press conference this afternoon. (Still image from the press conference)

The CNMI Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation announced during a press conference Monday afternoon the first suspected COVID-19 related death in the CNMI.

According to Esther Muna CHCC Chief Executive Officer, the 70-year old male, a CNMI resident, was seen at CHCC on March 25.

“He was considered as a person under investigation, a PUI. Based on this clinical determination, CHCC issued an order of quarantine for the patient and his wife. To be cared for at the Kanoa Hotel, the designated quarantine location,” Muna said.

“Unfortunately, he had underlying, multiple medical conditions,” she added. A treatment plan was offered to the patient but next of kin opted for comfort care at the Kanoa Hotel.

The deceased male had no travel history.

Specimens from the deceased individual have been sent to the Guam Public Lab for COVID-19 testing.

“Guam Public Health lab has assured us of making this test a priority as soon as it is received,” Muna said.

First two COVID-19 confirmed cases in the CNMI

CNMI officials informed the public on Saturday that the results of the first two specimens sent to the Guam Public Health Lab have been confirmed positive for COVID-19.

During Saturday’s press conference, Dr. John M. Tudela, CHCC’s Director of Medical Affairs, provided more information about the CNMI’s first two confirmed cases:

“The confirmed positive cases involve a 42-year-old male and a 49-year-old female. They are presently quarantined at Kanoa resort since they were presented to CHCC on March 26.”

“As a result, CHCC has already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contacts which include family members, friends, and members of a faith-based organization,” he added.

Tudela said CHCC is monitoring the two patients’ health closely.

One individual traveled to Guam on March 12 and another individual traveled to Tinian on March 13 and returned to Saipan on March 14. Both cases started showing symptoms on or around March 17 and sought care at CHCC on March 25 and 26, according to Tudela.

Both of the cases meet the CDC person under investigation (PUI) criteria so specimens were obtained on March 27. The specimens were submitted to the Guam Public Health laboratory which positively confirmed the samples for COVID-19.