• By Pacific island Times News Staff

Guam reports 20th Covid death at GMH; Matson ship's dead crew member cleared of coronavirus


(Updated)

The Joint Information Center today reported the 20th Covid-19-related fatality at the Guam Memorial Hospital.

The patient, who was reported to have passed away at noon today, was a 60-year-old female with comorbidities that were compounded by Covid-19. She was admitted to GMH on Aug. 27 after testing positive at Guam Regional Medical City (GRMC) that same day.

"Jeff, Lt. Governor Josh, and I join this woman's family and friends in mourning for her loss and in remembrance for the life she lived,” said Gov.Lou Leon Guerrero.

“This virus has taken too much too soon. All of us need to do what we can to protect our loved ones and our entire island community. Do what we know works: stay home, wear your masks, and wash your hands. That is how we can end this fight.”

Meanwhile, the Port Authority of Guam temporarily delayed the beginning of operations on a Matson ship that arrived this morning after a crew member was found lifeless on board.

The ship operations resumed shortly after a subsequent Covid-19 test on the body returned a negative result.

“We are saddened to report that while en route to Guam, one of our crew members aboard the M/V Papa Mau was found unresponsive in his cabin. The captain followed emergency protocols and notified the U.S. Coast Guard immediately," Matson said in a statement.

The Matson Papa Mau was docked at the Port’s F5 pier at 7:25 a.m. The ship’s previous port of call was Palau.

"Guam Customs cleared the vessel upon arrival into Guam, and out of precaution, the Department of Public Health and Social Services conducted a Covid-19 test of the crew member. The test result came back negative," Matson said.

The company said it follows CDC guidelines and protocols to ensure the safety of all personnel at sea and on shore.

The company said all crew members were recently tested for Covid-19, and all received negative test results. Vessel crew members are not allowed to go ashore at the ports they visit to reduce any risk of exposure to Covid-19. Additional Matson protocols include wearing face masks in the presence of others, washing and sanitizing hands often, sanitizing common and personal areas, practicing physical distancing, and limiting access for shoreside personnel.

"We appreciate the caution that the Port took to ensure the safety of all onboard and ashore and thank the Coast Guard for their support,” Matson said.

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Earlier in the day, Port Authority general manager Rory J. Respicio said when his office was notified of the dead crew member, the Port prohibited any operations on the vessel and instead the Port’s assistant operations manager escorted four nurses on board to swab the lifeless crew member.

Three of the public health nurses were from the Port Clinic and one was a supervisor who came down to the Port to take the lead on the swabbing.

The nurses were escorted off the ship and the sample taken to DPHSS for testing. The vessel also was met at the dock by Guam Customs and Public Health. Matson also advised that all crew members were recently tested for Covid-19, and all received negative results. Matson also noted that crew members do not take liberty at the ports they visit.

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