• By Pacific island Times News Staff

53 new Covid cases reported from one lab; many frustrated by delays in test results


The Joint Information Center today reported 53 new Covid-19 positive cases out of 1,075 samples tested at the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services laboratory. Results from other testing labs were not available as of noon Sunday.

To date, there have been a total of 820 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with seven deaths, 394 not in isolation, and 419 cases in active isolation. Of those cases, 687 are classified as civilians and 133 are military service members. The number of hospitalization went up to 16; while the number of people in ICU went down to three following the death of one patient Friday.

Some residents are frustrated by the long delay in the release of their results.

"My wife got tested at FHP exactly two weeks ago because she had flu like symptoms. She actually went there because of a kidney stone symptom. Until this day, she has not gotten her results. She was told that test supplies (not swab kits) were in low supply. So hers had not yet been tested with the COV 2 procedure," Yigo resident Eddie Cruz posted on Facebook.

A Dededo resident, who tested on Aug. 17, is still waiting for his result. "This wait is brutal. I am getting really tired of this stress," said the Dededo resident, who requested not to be named. "Maybe there's already a vaccine by the time I get my test result."

The Dededo resident lives with his elderly father. "Now I'm sanitizing a lot because I'm scared I'll get him sick," he said.

The Guam Regional Medical City on Saturday evening reported two employees tested Covid-19 positive.

GRMC said in a press release that both employees are currently in quarantine and contact tracing has determined both contracted the virus from outside sources and not at the hospital.

"Both employees have been home quarantined since first identifying their potential exposure. The two cases were identified through GRMC’s drive-thru testing site," GRMC said.

GRMC conducted a total of 48 tests over a three -day period, beginning Aug. 18.

The first person was identified as one of the 20 positive cases resulting from those 48 tests. The second case was identified in testing conducted on Aug. 21 also at GRMC’s drive-thru testing site.

"GRMC is doing its due diligence and following the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Public Health and Social Services," GRMC said.

"The areas of the hospital where the two employees work are currently being disinfected and sanitized. Disinfecting and sanitizing will be completed by Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 and will not cause any disruption in services. Patients with appointments may feel safe to proceed to their doctor’s clinic."

GRMC said the facility is sanitized daily by the Advance Management Inc. team, "who use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved disinfectant sprayer called the Evaclean™ Protexus Handheld Electrostatic Sprayers in conjunction with Evaclean™ PURTABS disinfectant cleaner. "

"The safety of anyone entering our hospital is of the upmost importance to us. This is why we conduct daily disinfection spraying with EPA approved disinfectants, enforce the 'no mask, no entry' policy and conduct screenings at the entrances.," GRMC said.

The Joint Information Center also reported that an Emergency Medical Dispatcher has tested positive for Covid-119 after a close contact wit a family member.

" To prevent further contamination, the 911 Center, along with personnel, will be temporarily relocated to the Guam Fire Departmen headquarters in Agana. GFD personnel will be conducting a thorough decontamination of the facility and equipment before allowing employees to return," JIC said. "During the transition and temporary location use, there will be no loss or disruption of 911 services to the community."

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Inside the Naval Base Guam, the Joint Region Marianas said sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) continue to exercise Covid mitigations throughout the ship's Safe Haven Liberty port visit on Guam. JRM said during the ship's time in port, sailors continue to safely take part in recreation and morale activities within the designated beach and pier liberty areas, with no physical interaction with base personnel or anyone not part of the ship's crew. "Since the majority of the USS Ronald Reagan team has remained sequestered ashore, aboard ship and at sea for more than 100 days, the wear of masks and social distancing will not be required by the crew while in open air off-ship," JRM said. "Members will continue to be screened daily for symptoms of Covid-19 throughout and following the port visit. To maintain the Safe Haven and preserve the ship's Covid-free bubble, JRM said local support personnel made required supply deliveries to the pier prior to the ship's arrival and the pier was properly sanitized before being opened to the crew.

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