- By Pacific island Times News Staff
Shelter-in-place directive takes effect; 63 new cases reported
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Friday issued a new executive order mandating Guam residents to stay home as part of the expanded restrictions prompted by a large wave of new Covid-19 infections on island.
The Joint Information Center reported 63 new cases Friday. Out of the 63 newly confirmed cases, ten cases were identified through contact tracing, eight cases reported recent travel (six from the US and two from the Philippines) and were identified in quarantine.
To date, there have been a total of 767 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with six deaths, 394 not in isolation, and 367 cases in active isolation. Of those cases, 634 are classified as civilians and 133 are military service members.
The stay-at-home order took effect at noon Aug. 21 and will run through Aug. 28. Other restrictions include the previously mandated ban on social gathering and social isolation.
The directive is "subject to limited exceptions such as obtaining food and household necessities, going to and from work at critical businesses, as identified in applicable DPHSS Guidance, seeking medical care, caring for dependents or pets, or caring for a vulnerable person in another location."
The government of Guam continues to operate "but without public access" and no customer service functions.
All businesses other than those designated as "critical businesses" are ordered to close temporarily.
Exempted from the closure order are business engaged i health care operations, including home health workers; operation of public transportation and utilities; grocery stores, farmers' markets, drive-through and curbside food sales at restaurants, food delivery, food banks, convenience stores; businesses and non-profit organizations
"Of course my level of concern about our economy is extremely high and we'll do anything so we can rebuild it again, but I still want to let people know that goods and services will still be available," the governor said at Thursday's press conference.
Those finding themselves unemployed or furloughed are given a faint hope in possible collaboration with FEMA over the next few weeks.
"As far as the Lost Cause compensation program and I'm made aware that the disaster relief fund will be given upfront; meaning the 75 percent will be loaded up through the department of labor," the governor sad. The remaining 25 percent or roughly 22,000 individuals will rely on pre-existing funds from the government and community.
At the legislature, Sen. James Moylan wrote to the governor seeking clarification on primar, which is scheduled for Aug. 29-- the day after the expiration of the lockdown order.
"Considering that the objective of your actions today is to reduce the potential risks associated with spreading the virus through human interaction, wouldn’t we be defeating the purpose by lifting the stay-at-home order less than 24 hours before allowing the community to congregate in a larger scale gathering which elections on Guam have been known to be? " Moylan asked.
If the governor intends to either postpone or cancel the primary election, Moylan suggested that she submit a piece of legislation and call for an emergency session.
"Time is of the essence. The very reason I had introduced Bill 375-35 along with Sen. Therese Terlaje was because I was concerned about the health risks associated with large gatherings, and to give the Legislature and the Guam Election Commission ample time to prepare for a safe general election," Moylan said.
The measure was defeated in th legislature.
"As for the recommended action, whether it be an all-out cancelation or a postponement, I will leave that to your discretion," Moylan said. "What is important is assuring that after a week of asking the community to remain in a lockdown to reduce the spread, that we don’t just open the door to island wide election gatherings and find ourselves in another lockdown days or weeks later."
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