Covid-19 cases on Guam have flatlined, indicating that community transmission may have been controlled. But local officials said the resumption of flights and arrival of passengers from various locations leave the island vulnerable to resurgence of large numbers of positive cases.
“After reviewing data provided by DPHSS, the Guam state surgeon and my Physician Advisory Group, it is apparent that a significant threat to our continued downward trend in positivity rate is an influx of travelers from regions where cases continue to increase in number,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero stated in her latest executive order that sets the conditions for continued quarantine mandate for all incoming passengers.
The Department of Public Health and Social Services’ new guidance for quarantine includes penalties for violation of the protocols. “Compliance with voluntary quarantine regardless of location is subject to monitoring verification and enforcement,” states the department’s memo. “The knowing and intentional failure to follow any part of this order constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year or both (10 GCA, Chapter 19, §19604 (c) Cooperation.”
The governor's new directive came on the heels of three positive cases involving transit passengers, who originated from the U.S. mainland and stopped on Guam before arriving at their final destination on Saipan, where they were given the coronavirus tests.
“It is imperative that safeguards be implemented with regard to inbound travelers to protect against a surge in Covid-19 positive,” the governor said.
To date, there have been 179 cases confirmed through testing provided with five deaths, 162 released from isolation, and 12 active cases. New criteria for release of cases from isolation were implemented on May 22.
Based on the executive order, all passengers coming to Guam from international and domestic locations will be placed in 14-day quarantine, whether or not their place of origin is a Covid-19 hotspot.
Based on World Health Organization’s definition, a “hot spot” refers a country/location with Covid-19 case doubling rate less than every 30 days. A “non-sot Spot” location has a Covid- 19 case doubling rate greater than or equal to every 30 days. According the governor’s office, the locations’ hot spot status will ultimately be determined and updated by the DPHSS in consultation with the governor and State Surgeon’s Physician Advisory Group.
The quaratine rules for arrivals from international non-hot spots and domestic locations are as follow:
All persons traveling domestically or having originated from or traveled through international locations not deemed a “hot spot” shall be subject to a 14-day quarantine at a GovGuam qualified quarantine facility.
Guam residents shall be allowed to complete their 14-day quarantine at their home residence.
Guam non-residents can present a valid diagnostic laboratory Covid-19 PCR negative test result for SARS CoV2, that is not more than one week from the date of attempted entry into Guam, and shall complete the 14-day quarantine requirement at their personal residence or rental lodging.
All arriving passengers will be asked to sign a voluntary quarantine acknowledgement form and any person who refuses to sign will be subject to Involuntary Quarantine.
Current residents of Guam, persons who are essential healthcare or other essential workers, or persons at the Guam port of entry, who traveled to Guam because of an emergency or personal hardship situation as determined and approved by Guam DPHSS, may be allowed to complete the 14-day quarantine requirement at their home residence or rental lodging location.
All non-residents are subject to 14-day quarantine at a GovGuam designated quarantine facility. The department said all costs associated with the quarantine and/or treatment of individuals who are subject to restricted entry into Guam "shall be the responsibility of the individual and the carrier that the individual contracted with to travel to Guam."
In coordination with the Guam International Airport Authority, transiting passengers will be asked to remain in designated portions of the airport facility while awaiting connecting flights for less than 10 hours.