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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Guam consolidates health care resources to fight Covid-19

Gov Loue Leon guerrero

As the number of Covid-19 cases on Guam continues to mount and threaten to bring the local health care system to a break point by next week— if not soon— the government and the private sector have built a network to consolidate the island’s health care resources into a “unified” action team.

Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero has also extended the public health emergency declaration that would keep people behind doors until April 13 as part of the measure to “flatten the curve.”

As of Tuesday’s tally, Guam has 32 Covid-19 cases, which includes one death.

“A total of 233 tests were performed from March 12, 2020 through March 24, 2020 with conclusive results,” states a press release from the Joint Information Center.

Public Health Director Linda DeNorcey said Guam is expecting additional 200 test kits from the Center for Diseases Control, in addition to the second batch received Sunday.

The spread rate of Covid-19 on Guam is currently 33 percent, according to the government.

“Guam should acknowledge that Guam took strong steps to cut Covid-19 spread rate from 200 percent to 33 percent,” Leon Guerrero said. “We must do more.”

The goal is the cut the spread rate to 16.5 percent, the governor said.

“Experts say that if we don’t cut our spread rate in half, our health care system will be overwhelmed by next week. That is why this extended order must be followed,” Leon Guerrero said in a web conference Tuesday.

Non-essential businesses, GovGuam agencies and schools will remain shut during the public emergency declaration, which has also been expanded to parks and beaches.

“We have a small window of opportunity to break the chain of community transmission and limit the pain caused by the virus,” the governor said. “This plan is simple: we can stop the spread by staying at home and reducing our contact. Stay home: it’s the most effective tool we have.

“While we are working to flatten the curve, we must prepare not to bend the health care system in ways it never anticipated,” the governor said. “Our health care professionals are working tirelessly but even our heroes have their limits.”

The health care community is grappling with strong possibility of burnout and staff shortages, as the islands bed capacity is nearing its limit.

Leon Guerrero’s new executive order has established Covid 19 Unified Response Effort, billed CURE Action Team, which offers advice relative to the appropriate medical response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The CURE will allow us to use all the medical facilities and resources available to us,” the governor said.

This includes the designation of Guam Memorial Hospital as the COVID-19 hospital facility for all who test positive for COVID-19 and COVID-19 related illnesses and the use of the Guam Regional Medical Facility as the primary facility for non-COVID-19 patients. American Medical Center, FHP Health Center, and Seventh-Day Adventist Clinic will be utilized as urgent care facilities

“As a condition of their licensure,” the governor said, “all health care facilities and health care providers will be required to assist in the vaccination, treatment and examination of all individuals who, on instruction from the Department of Public Health and Social Services, present themselves to any clinic for medical assistance.”

DPHSS said most of Guam's Covid-19 positive cases have epidemiological links to other confirmed cases.

Profiles of the previous 29 confirmed cases, (not including the two confirmed cases confirmed on Tuesday night):

● Status: ○ 21 in stable condition ○ 5 hospitalized ○ 1 deceased

● Gender: ○ 12 male ○ 17 female

● Residential Location: ○ 7 from the north ○ 14 from central ○ 7 from the south ○ 1 still under investigation for place of residence ● Travel History: ○ 1- Japan ○ 5 - Philippines ○ 1 - U.S. Mainland

● Age Groups: ○ 1 is in their 90s ○ 2 are in their 80s ○ 11 are in their 60s ○ 4 are in their 50s ○ 5 are in their 40s ○ 3 are in their 30s ○ 3 are in their 20s

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