- By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
21 Covid-19 patients in home isolation
The Guam Police Department has set up a road block on North Sabana Street leading to the Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada Heights. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Of the 32 Covid-19 positive individuals on Guam, 21 are in home isolation, eight are confined at the Guam Memorial Hospital and two at the Skilled Nursing Unit, Public Health Director Linda DeNorcey said today.
Guam has one fatality and as the tally mounts, data indicate rapid local transmission of the coronavirus. DeNorcey said 24 patients had no travel history; six came from the Philippines, one from Japan and one from U.S. mainland. One of the infected patients is a GMH nurse.
Communications Direct Janela Carrera said the goal is to move all Covid-19 positive patients into an approved isolation facility while preparations are underway.
“Covid-19 positive patients who are asymptomatic can be under home isolation under strict monitoring by public health surveillance team. This is the standard also set by Center for Disease Control,” Carrera said.
GMH administrator Lilian Perez-Posadas said among the Covid-19 positive cases, one is a nurse. However, Posadas said, the nurse’s coronavirus infection was not a result of exposure to any patient at GMH but “due to meeting a friend from Manila.”
Posadas said tests were conducted on GMH employees who were suspected of having been exposed to a patient at Medical Surgical Unit, whose infection was detected several days after being admitted to the hospital for an illness not related Covid-19.
“They are the ones who were at high risk exposure,” Posadas said. “So far the tests came back negative and one is pending.”
DeNorcey said 14 Covid-19 positive individuals are from the central villages, 8 from northern, 8 from southern and two are pending residency determination.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said none of the quarantined passengers from Manila has tested positive.
“The ones that tested positive are people that come into GMH Emergency Room; they are not from the quarantine population,” the governor said.
Guam’s Covid-19 spread rate is 33 percent, which she said would have been 200 percent had the social distancing and community shutdown not been put in place.
“The math behind social distancing is very simple,” she said, again stressing the merits of the public emergency declaration policies.
“Initial research has shown that one person, who is asymptomatic for days and does not practice social distancing can spread the virus to 2.5 people. The math shows that if these 2.5 people each transmits to another 2.5 people, and so on, within 30 days, 244 and people will be infected,” the governor said. “If that initial person reduced their contact by 50 percent, they would spread the virus to 1.25 within 30 days, only four people will be infected.”
She added that when an infected person reduced their social contact by 75 percent, “this is when the math says we should start seeing the end of the chain of transmission. At this point, calculations show that an infected person will infect .26324 people, which cannot really happen; they are really infecting zero people, or one person. The possibility of infected people infecting zero people— that’s the key.”
While the government is targeting cutting the spread to 16.5 percent, or half of the 33 percent, the governor said the ideal and ultimate goal is zero percent.
During a call with the White House, the governor said she asked for additional assistance to help Guam deal manage the Covid-19 pandemic.
The governor said she has requested for 1,000 more test kits, reimbursement for the cost of activating the Guam National Guard and full reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We are also tracking emergency supplemental nutrition benefits,” Leon Guerrero said. “No one should have to choose between staying home to keep the community safe and putting food on the table.”