- By Johanna Salinas
4,600 new Covid-19 test kits, ventilators coming to Guam
Guam will be receiving additional 4,600 Covid-19 test kits and 30 ventilators from federal agencies, officials said on Monday.
“The 30 ventilators came from the White House. The ventilators are needed in anticipation of the surge, in anticipation of increased hospitalization, in anticipation of the increase demand for ventilators to treat respiratory distress as a result of Covid
19,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said Monday’s press briefing.
“We were informed in an email that there were 30 ventilators on their way in addition to some test kits,” the governor said.
The U.S. Department of Public Health and Human Services is providing the 4,600 additional test kits. The health department will also receive the new ID Now Kit, which can give results in 13 minutes.
“It's a gene expert machine, which is also done through nasopharyngeal swabs,” said Public Health Director Linda Unpingco-DeNorcey. “It will be coming through a grant from Department of Interior.”
Additionally, some questioned the quality control of the current Covid 19 tests on Guam.
“There was a quality control we had to make certain that we get rectified. Some of the tests are inconclusive,” said DeNorcey.
“There could be various factors that come into play. For example, the way the nasopharyngeal swab is taken sometimes it’s not done right. It could be where the test result doesn’t say it is positive or negative, it’s inconclusive. That has a lot to also do with the medium that is a part of the testing. The quality control is a mechanism where lab has to go through to make sure the test comes out correctly.”
Also shared during the conference was that one baby and five adolescents have been infected with Covid 19. “(One) is a one-year old individual,” said DeNorcey. “It was due to a household contact. As regards to the 10-19 -year-old age range. There are five. Of the five, three are household contacts, one was travel related from Honolulu, the other was a social event where they got the infection.”
Leon Guerrero said, “It is troubling. It's just a demonstration again that COVID virus doesn’t discriminate against age, sex, ethnicity. It is through all socio-economic status. It's a virus. It's not selective.”
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With regard to possible transmission among members of Iglesia Ni Cristo, DeNorcey said, “There are several places we’ve identified and we're going to be putting that announcement shortly.”
She said five of different areas in various villages have been identified to be all linked to patients who ae Covid-19 positive.”
DeNorcey talked about a possible link between Saipan and Guam cases. “There were two positive cases from CNMI from this church,” said DeNorcey. “We're still investigating this. We're just trying to connect all the different types of linkages. Whether they’re a household or close contacts—which inclusive of people they know, family. Also, if they're congregating in social events.”
DeNorcey added, “When we had the positive case from CNMI, that's when we first heard about it.”
Throughout the investigation, DeNorcey said, “we’ve put together as we get more cases that are very similar and we link them to find out who’s the index and from the index all the contacts. That was sometime in the latter part of March when we found out.”
Leon Guerrero also had no update on a legislative session or public hearings. “I think they still have to hold public hearing then it’s a matter of how to hold a public hearing that doesn’t create a social compact situation,” she said. “Whether they can do it through Zoom or electronic means. The executive branch is not the branch that would be working on that.”
The governor hopes the legislature can meet soon in order to enact stricter restrictions on the quarantine.
“I asked for legislation that would allow me to be able to enforce my directives,” she said. “I've asked for fines and civil penalties. I do think $5,000 is too high. Some places have started with $250. People were not complying so it went up to $500. I think $5,000 might be too steep. I don’t know whether the legislation said up to $5,000 or $5,000 immediately. I haven’t seen the draft legislation.”
Leon Guerrero believes that more restrictions can help decrease the spread of Covid-19. “The curfew situation, if there’s statute to allow curfew to be extended to everyone,” she said. “I think that would be very appreciative. In terms of fines I didn’t suggest any amount to legislatures.”
Also discussed was the progress the moving uninfected Navy sailor from the USS Roosevelt to Tumon hotels.
“The commander of the 7th Fleet, Admiral Merz was here. I met with him this morning,” Leon Guerrero said.
“He's here to look over the operation of vessels and the system that has been put in place to deal with the sailors. As far as I'm aware Admiral Menoni has reported to me things are going okay with the sailors at the hotels. They are complying with the conditions and the controls we’ve put in place. I also do know that all the sailors that are positive don’t need hospitalization and their symptoms range from mild to moderate.”