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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

31st Covid death reported; ICU hits over surge capacity

The Joint Information Center has reported Guam’s 31st Covid-19-related fatality and 32 newly confirmed cases.

A 77-year-old woman with underlying conditions died at the Guam Memorial Hospital at approximately 4:48 p.m. Thursday. She was admitted to GMH on Aug. 27 and tested positive during initial work-up.

Of the 32 newly confirmed cases, 16 cases were identified through contact tracing.

To date, there have been a total of 2,045 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 587 cases in active isolation and 1,427 not in active isolation. Of those cases, 1,782 are classified as civilians and 263 are military service members.

Of the 43 patients currently confined at GMH, 19 are in ICU, exceeding the hospital's 17-bed ICU capacity. Eight patients are on ventilators.

"It's not just about number of beds," said GMH administrator Lilian Posadas.

She said some patients needing intensive care are assigned in other areas outside of ICU that can provide high- level care.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said each passing due to the coronavirus is the suffering of the entire island community.

"Jeff, Lt. Gov. Josh, and I express our deepest condolences and sympathies to her family, friends, and loved ones,” she said.. “Almost every day of this month, we have announced the death of one of our own, and we are reminded of just how fragile life can be. Let us continue to treat each other with love and compassion. As we grieve, we should remember our blessings and remain unwavering in our resolve to beat Covid-19.”

The governor's office said many of the island’s frontliners will receive additional personal protective equipment (PPE) following the first shipment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) earlier this week. Items include 160 Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR) and 495,000 3M 9502+ masks.

The items were received and are being distributed by the Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense (GHS/OCD).

GMH is already in receipt of their allocated PAPRs—a total of 100 pieces. The remaining 60 PAPRs will be distributed among other agencies.

“Our partnership with FEMA and Health and Human Services (HHS) has been invaluable in our fight against Covid-19. With the additional PPEs, not only are our frontliners protected but we are reducing the risk of transmission of the virus to the people we serve and to the families they come home to,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero.

“The continuous need for resources is one piece of Covid-19 response operations. Because we’re competing for resources with all States and Territories, the process can be lengthy. It is important we continue to coordinate the fulfillment of requested resources, especially for items not readily available on island,” said Charles Esteves, OCD Administrator.

“Guam's been doing a great job in managing our supply and it's really allowed us to build up our stockpile. Even as we build and diversify our supplies, we continue to monitor and enforce conservation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that we use conservation strategies before supplies are low. The time to be careless or wasteful is never,” said COVID-19 Unified Response Effort (CURE) Task Force Medical Operations and Logistics Coordinator SGT Fernando Esteves.

The majority of the 495,000 3M 9502+ masks will be distributed to the Department of Public Health and Social Services Northern Regional Community Health Center.

The Guam Fire Department has received three new ambulances GFD and supplies funded by a Covid 19 grant secured by the Bureau of Statistics and Plans.

“Four ambulances were secured for GFD. The first one was received in July and immediately put into service, and the remaining three ambulances will be put into service by GFD this week," said BSP Directo, Tyrone J. Taitano. "Our goal is to get these supplies and equipment into hands of our first responders as quickly as possible."

The Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, Guam Police Department, Department of Youth Affairs, Guam Airport Police, and Department of Corrections received additional shipment of coronavirus sanitation supplies and personal protection supplies funded under a federal grant earmarked for criminal justice agencies.

Among the supplies picked up during the week were N95 masks, nitrile gloves, rubbing alcohol, alcohol prep pads, sani-cloth (germicidal wipes), hand sanitizer and biohazard trash bags.

The $2.9 million U.S. Department of Justice Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program grant was secured in April 2020 by the Bureau of Statistics and Plans.

The funding became available as part of CARES legislation to help public safety agencies in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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