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  • By Pacific Island Times News Saff

GovGuam, schools suspended; doctors call for a two-week lockdown

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, in consultation with the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has implemented a 14-day suspension of non-essential Government of Guam (GovGuam) operations effective today, Monday

The suspension was prompted by three confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Guam. Further investigation revealed that the two people, who were initially reported to have arrived on Guam from Manila on March 2 actually arrived on Feb. 29.

"Each patient remains in isolation, and Public Health has since initiated its close contact and tracing investigation. Because I want to give Public Health officials and our CDC advisors the best chance at investigating and mitigating against the spread of Covid-19, I am ordering a 14-day suspension of all nonessential government services effective immediately. All critical health and public safety operations will continue uninterrupted. This 14-day shutdown includes schools and all other government agencies," the governor said in a special address.

"Directors will advise government employees if they are required to report for essential government operations.

While our Public Health officials are doing their job to detect and track any potential spread of Covid-19, I am asking that we, as a community, take actions to make that task easier. We can do this by taking steps to prevent further transmission.

"By now, you have likely heard the term social distancing quite a bit. This practice includes maintaining a distance of between six and ten feet from the next person when you are out in public. Please practice social distancing. It is imperative to our community’s health. Additionally, on the recommendation of CDC and local public health officials," she added.

Meanwhile, the Guam Medical Association has recommended that Guam be placed on a lockdown for two weeks. "Stop any new viruses from coming in, and allow us two weeks to manage and recover from our current local infection. Time for us to also revamp our strategy before we open that gate again," GMA president Thomas Shieh said.

"Guam is very small, unlike our stateside partners, we don’t have enough doctors, nurses, supplies, and with only two civilian hospitals that we must protect," he added.

The governor said all critical health and public safety operations will continue uninterrupted. Directors will advise employees if they are required to report for essential government operations.

The two-week suspension of non-essential government operations is intended to give DPHSS officials and our CDC advisors the best chance to investigate and mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

"If you need to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy or a medical facility—do that. But know that limiting your contact with those who might be ill is how you can help the doctors, nurses, and first responders who are keeping us safe," the governor said.

At the Guam Waterworks Authority, officials urged costumers to exercise preventive measures and conduct business online.

"There are still many uncertainties as we continue to manage and work through our island’s recent outbreak of coronavirus. GWA will follow all government of Guam protocols regarding the safety measures needed for coronavirus-19. In the meantime for the safety of our employees and our customers GPWA customer service locations will remain closed until further notice," said Miguel Bordallo general manager of GWA.

“GWA continues to keep our water supply safe from unwanted pathogens in our islandwater supply”, he continued. “We ask our customers to use our pay by phone, pay online and mobile app for water bill payments. Our 24/7 work at the utility continues please call646-4211 or 646-7319 for any water issues you may have to report."

The spread of Covid-19 is a dynamic situation and any information resulting from an investigation may change as it develops.

Confirmed School Closures

The following updates have been provided to the Joint Information Center:

● Guam Department of Education: closed until further notice

● University of Guam: All on-campus classes canceled until further notice. All online classes resume normal operations.

● Guam Community College: The College Assembly scheduled for March has been canceled until further notice. The campus will remain closed to the public until classes resume at 4 p.m. on Monday. Further guidance will be issued if there are changes.

● Saint Paul Christian School: closed until further notice

● Guam Adventist Academy: closed until further notice

● Mt. Carmel School: closed from March 16 through March 18

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