Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Friday signed an executive order officially extending the public health emergency through May 30 and establishing he Pandemic Conditions of Readiness (PCOR) system that determines the levels of restrictions on community activities.
“This extension does not prevent me from relaxing any current restrictions but it is necessary as long as some measures remain to prevent further spread of the virus,” the governor said at Friday’s press conference. “While we cannot immediately return to life as it was before Covid-19, we have entered a new stage in Guam’s long road to recovery.”
The governor’s Chålan Para Hinemlo’ recovery plan sets four conditions for the gradual lifting of mandates and restrictions imposed in response to a public health emergency. Conditions are categorized by number. PCOR refers to the most urgent condition and PCOR 4 means a return to normal operating conditions for the island’s public and private sectors.
PCOR 1 describes the maximum alert, or the strictest measures implemented to prevent rapid spread of Covid-19. These include the prohibitions and closures of non-essential activities, quarantining of inbound travelers, and actions meant to deter people from engaging in non-essential activities.
In PCOR 2, levels of restrictions will be moderated. Wearing face masks and social distancing will still be required, but the governor said the government will begin to reopen some nonessential government operations and businesses, such as retail stores with an emphasis on ensuring their processes and procedures are adjusted based on public health guidelines.
The governor said the Chålan Para Hinemlo’ plan is based on available medical data and the community’s ability to contain the virus if hits a new surge. Guam is currently in PCOR 1.
The governor said the current status is reflected in the most stringent restrictions on social gatherings, prohibitions and closures of non-essential activities, impositions of conditions on operations of essential activities, quarantining of inbound travelers, and actions meant to deter people from engaging in non-essential activities.
The administration's target is to reach PCOR 2 by May 9. The governor said the decision to move from PCOR 1 to PCOR 2 will be based on following criteria: 1) [endif]two weeks of consistent decline in the number of new Covid-19 positives; [endif]adequate hospital capability to treat new cases as they arise; [endif]capacity to test all people with COVID-19 symptoms; and [endif]ability to contact trace efficiently and effectively.
“Our plan will open Guam’s economy gradually in order to mitigate the risk of resurgence and protect our most vulnerable populations,” the governor said.
As of last night, Guam had 145 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Of those cases, there have been five deaths, and 131 have been released from isolation. Guam has nine active cases.
“Based on the data we have, the current 14-day window we are considering began on April 25th. This means, if all other criteria are met, Guam could accomplish the goal of reaching PCOR 2 by May 9th. I want to reiterate that May 9 is a goal—not an absolute certainty,” Leon Guerrero said. “We will not rush to meet fixed deadlines. Instead my decisions will be based on evidence and our ability to manage the threat of COVID-19. Anything else would jeopardize human life and risk an even longer period of recovery.”
Noting that May 9 is a little more than a week away, the governor said she has asked the business sector to begin preparing immediately.
“To transition from PCOR 2 to PCOR 3 means we must make even greater progress,” she said. “Rapid testing must be achieved—not only for our residents but for all travelers to Guam. We must maintain our downward trend in case positives over a minimum of 28 more days after PCOR 2 is declared. PCOR 3 will have minimum restrictions that we will determine at a later time, and additional businesses and government operations may be opened.”
The governor said getting to PCOR 4, which would entail the lifting of all restrictions. would require the availability of a vaccine against the coronavirus or sufficient evidence of mass immunity.
“I know that each of you must have questions about the type of data I will use to make these decisions, the public or private services that will be allowed to open under each condition of readiness, and how business owners can prepare to reopen responsibly,” the governor said.