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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Guam's positivity rate jumps to 14%, among the highest in US

Akimoto recommends federalization of contact tracing

Of the 305 samples tested Friday, 43 were confirmed positive for Covid-19, raising Guam’s positivity rate to 14.1 percent from 8 percent over the past week.

With the sudden increase, Guam now ranks 10th among the U.S. jurisdictions with the highest positivity rates that far exceed the 5 percent acceptable level recommended by the World Health Organization.

“If a positivity rate is too high, that may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention, and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities,” according to Johns Hopkins Institute of Medicine.

The results released by the Joint Information Center on Saturday included only test samples from the Department of Public Health and Social Services (41 out of 262 samples) and the Department of Defenses (two out of 43 samples). Results from other labs were not currently available.

Dr. Vince Akimoto, a family medicine doctor at the American Medical Clinic, suggested the federalization of contact tracing.

AMC is among the private clinics that provide Covid-19 testing on Guam

“The current positivity suggests that (the Guam Memorial Hospital) will be further overwhelmed by critically sick people next week and many more people will die,” Akimoto said.

Guam’s latest Covid-19 tally was 2,117 as of Saturday. The death toll now stands at 34. The Center for Diseases Control’s Youyang Gu forecast model has revised its forecast, predicting 72 deaths for Guam by Nov. 1.

Based on WHO’s May 12 recommendation, the positivity rate should remain at 5 percent or lower for at least 14 days prior to reopening.

“A low rate of positivity in testing data can be seen as a sign that a state has sufficient testing capacity for the size of their outbreak and is testing enough of its population to make informed decisions about reopening,” Johns Hopkins said.

According to Johns Hopkins’ most recent list, Puerto Rico -- with 100 percent positivity rate-- leads the pack of U.S. jurisdictions with infection rate above the WHO recommendation.

Mississippi came next with 17.8 percent; followed by South Carolina,16 percent; Idaho, 15.92 percent; Alabama,15.81; Kansas, 15.17; South Dakota, 15.09; Wisconsin 14.92; Utah, 14.77 percent.

While Guam is not on the Johns Hopkins' list, its latest positivity rate is above the No. 10 state, Iowa, with 13.77 percent

“Today’s data represents almost 15 percent positivity and suggests worsening community spread despite four weeks of lockdown," Akimoto said. "This bad news comes after weak leadership at Public Health cut back on community lab testing and contact training efforts were suspended due to government holidays over the past seven days.”

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