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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Military's medical aid to Guam to extend till the end of the month

A medical military team supplementing Guam's Covid-19 medical care and response will continue providing assistance to the understaffed Guam Memorial Hospital until the end of the month, according to the Joint Region Marianas.

The team consists of 22 medical professionals who have reinforced the limited GMH staff, which has shrunken in recent months. At least 32 hospital employees, including five doctors, have tested Covid-19 positive.

JRM said the medical team, consisting of Army and Air Force medical professionals, arrived on Guam starting Sept. 2 and began preparations for assisting local medical professionals in the fight against Covid-19.

To date, there have been a total of 2,117 officially reported cases of Covid-19. This number includes the 43 new cases reported Saturday and 34 deaths, 633 cases in active isolation, and 1,450 not in active isolation.

"We have been working closely with the government of Guam since COVID's arrival on Guam in March, and we are proud to be able to provide additional medical assistance to the community in which we live and work," said Rear Adm. John Menoni, commander of the Joint Region Marianas.

"In the spirit of collaboration, JRM and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have executed a Defense Support for Civil Authorities agreement with GovGuam, and through this avenue, we are able to augment the island's available healthcare staff with a specialized medical team for Covid-19 patients." Elements of the joint service medical team, composed of service members assigned to the 47th Combat Support Hospital at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and the 673rd Medical Support Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, began work at GMH Sept. 3. Both units provided critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, respiratory technicians, internists and intensivists to support GMH's efforts amid a rise in hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

During their time at GMH, the medical team has provided critical care and rehabilitation to approximately 70 patients to date, providing invaluable assistance to Guam's medical professionals and reinforcing the mutually beneficial civilian-military relationship on Guam and throughout the region. "This is a historic time for the territory of Guam when the Department of Defense can bring in some of its most highly trained medical professionals and work alongside the best medical professionals in Guam," said Jeffrey Barone, Deputy Defense Coordinating Officer-West. "Guam is home to all of the services, to include the U.S. Coast Guard, and we all claim Guam as our0 home and have a desire to see this Covid pandemic come to an end-and it will-with all of us working together." The team is scheduled to continue providing medical support until the end of the month when the duration of the FEMA mission assignment for the team's medical support will be complete, according to JRM. JRM said the medical professionals were in known Covid-free environments before traveling to Guam and received negative Covid-19 test results before being permitted to begin work at GMH.

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