Another person tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, bringing to 15 the total number of Covid-19 cases on Guam since the first three infections were detected exactly a week ago.
The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services tested 23 individuals for Covid-19 on Saturday.
"Guam COVID-19 known positive cases consist of imported cases among international travelers and cases among close contacts of a known case. There is evidence of community transmission at this time. Due to the investigation process for each confirmed case, more information on profiles of confirmed cases is forthcoming," the Joint Information Center said.
The government said 200 additional diagnostic test kits arrived on Guam Saturday.
"Although DPHSS has requested additional test kits from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) multiple times, this is a demand the CDC is receiving from health departments throughout the nation. Supply is currently low," the Joint Information Center said. "Following CDC guidelines, DPHSS has implemented testing criteria that takes this national shortage of testing kits into account."
The government confirmed earlier speculations that most of the patients with confirmed Covid-19 infections had been sent home.
"The Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) is now equipped to isolate individuals who tested positive for the virus causing COVID-19 and whose symptoms do not require acute care," the JIC said. "Patients temporarily in home isolation are now being transported to the SNF. Isolation protects the health and safety of the patient and the community by ensuring individuals carrying the virus receive the medical care they may need."
"In accordance with CDC guidelines and following examples set in states such as Hawaii, Illinois, and Massachusetts, DPHSS temporarily sent nine Covid -19 positive individuals with mild symptoms into home isolation and monitored them frequently. DPHSS determined home isolation was the best intermediate option while the SNF prepared to accept these patients. Additionally, home isolation, subject to DPHSS monitoring, frees space for acute care patients, i.e. those suffering from respiratory disorders. Home isolation also lessens the potential infection of frontline health professionals."
The government said DPHSS is actively developing contingency plans to increase the amount and frequency of testing; these plans include using certified Covid-19 tests from other countries and from public and private labs in Hawaii and California.
As of March 20, there are 91 public health laboratories offering testing throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
"The Government of Guam is aggressively implementing its planned COVID-19 response to identify and contain transmission of COVID-19 in Guam," JIC said. "With any change in status, anticipate timely notification."
As part of the response, thr government said Public Health officials may be calling residents from a local landline or mobile phone number to obtain further information. "This is not a scam. DPHSS does not ask for any financial details during the call," the government said.
Officials reminded residents to stay home if sick and keep a minimum of 6 feet distance from other people.