Public health emergency declared for Guam

Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero on Saturday declared as state of public health emergency for Guam in response to Covid-19, which the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic.

Following is the full transcript of the governor's address delivered March 14, 2020.

Hafa Adai! Earlier this weekend, President Trump declared a National State of Emergency under the Stafford Act--unleashing the full power of the federal government and making billions available in federal resources and equipment stockpiles. To access these resources and elevate our level of preparedness, I am declaring a Public Health Emergency under the laws of Guam.

But before I discuss that with you, you and your families deserve answers to three important questions: What is coronavirus and how is it spread? How will each potential or confirmed case be treated? And what actions can you take to protect you and your family?

Addressing these questions effectively requires preparation--not panic. And the best way to fight that panic is with knowledge. Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. Some coronaviruses frequently circulate in humans and cause mild symptoms of the common cold. According to the World Health Organization, just 5% of all coronavirus cases are critical. And while we can become infected with coronavirus, the elderly and those already sick with diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and other serious chronic medical conditions are most vulnerable.

Coronaviruses are most often spread through tiny droplets released during coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact, or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands. Knowing this, Guam's pandemic plan has worked to keep Guam safe from day one.

If you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19 infection, stay home and call your doctor. He or she will evaluate you over the phone, and you may be asked to go to the clinic for testing. We have test kits and can deliver results within 24-48 hours. If you test positive and your symptoms are mild, you will be asked to stay home--subject to monitoring by Public Health