Guam's Covid-19 death toll rises to 37; DPHSS says quarantine violators will face prosecution
Two more Covid-19 patients died today, bringing to 37 the number of coronavius-related deaths on Guam.
A 65-year-old man died at the Guam Memorial Hospital died at 1:08 p.m. He was was initially taken to the Guam Regional Medical City and was transferred to GMH on Aug. 21, according to the Joint Information Center.
Another patient, a 52-year-old woman died, an hour later. The second patient, who had underlying conditions compounded by Covid-19, died at 2:18 p.m. She was admitted to GMH on Sept. 5 and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 upon admission.
"To those they loved, Jeff, Lt. Gov. Josh, and I send you our deepest condolences and sympathies. I hope you are comforted by the outpouring of love and support surrounding you in this most difficult of times. Please know that you are not alone," said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. "To the people of Guam, now is not the time to become complacent. Let us do what we can to prevent any more moments of silence. Please, I ask that you stay home, wear your masks, and social distance."
JIC last night reported the death of a 56-year-old man at GRMC. The patient died at approximately 9:45 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 20.
He had underlying health conditions that were compounded by COVID-19. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the GRMC. He was swabbed and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 upon arrival on Sept. 20.
“This virus has taken so much from us. I ask the people of Guam to join us again as we mourn for the passing of another individual to Covid-19,” Leon Guerrero said.
JIC reported 43 newly confirmed cases from 474 samples tested Sept. 21. Of this batch, 31 cases were identified through contact tracing. Five were identified in quarantine: three cases reported recent travel from the U.S. and two cases reported recent travel from the Philippines.
To date, there have been a total of 2,190 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 37 deaths, 646 cases in active isolation, and 1,507 not in active isolation. Of those cases, 1,924 are classified as civilians and 266 are military service members.
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Over the weekend, the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) confirmed that two additional employees from Agueda Johnston Middle School and Liguan Elementary School tested positive for Covid-19. Both cases were identified through contact tracing efforts.
The GDOE is working closely with DPHSS to conduct contact tracing and close contacts of the confirmed cases will be contacted directly by DPHSS. A close contact is an individual who has come in face-to-face contact with a confirmed Covid-19 individual for at least 10 minutes or more and within six feet, or who has had direct contact with infectious secretions of the confirmed Covid-19 individual (e.g. being coughed on).
Areas of the campuses have been identified for cleaning and disinfecting as needed. GDOE employees will not have access to these areas until cleaning has been completed.
The Department of Public Health and Social Services, meanwhile, warned that individuals who violate Guam's mandatory quarantine will face prosecution.
Based on Executive Order No. 2020-33, incoming travelers and individuals already in Guam, including residents and non-residents, may be subject to quarantine and isolation pursuant to the laws of Guam.
According to Guam's quarantine law, violators face misdemeanor charges that correspond to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year or both.
According to the department's guidance, all persons entering Guam by air or sea shall be subject to a 14-day quarantine at a government of Guam Quarantine facility or approved personal residence or rental lodging. The cost will be shouldered the quarantined traveler.
Individuals permitted to quarantine at their personal residence or rental lodging location must meet criteria as contained in this Guidance document – in these instances, individuals must be tested for Covid-19 and receive a negative test result collected within five days of arrival to Guam.
DPHSS said it will accept two types of diagnostic tests which detect the virus – molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, which detect the virus genetic material, and antigen tests, which detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. These tests help to identify whether people are currently infected with the coronavirus. An antibody (serology) test should not be used to diagnose an active coronavirus infection as antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after infection and may remain in the blood for several more weeks.
In coordination with the Guam International Airport Authority (GIAA), transiting passengers may be asked to remain in a designated section of the airport facility while awaiting connecting flights less than 13 hours from landing time to departure time. Transiting passengers awaiting connecting flights in excess of 13 hours will be quarantined at the Government of Guam Quarantine Facility until they are transported to GIAA to transit off Guam.
All persons are required to fill out a Health Declaration form upon arrival to Guam. Those who are subject to quarantine restrictions are requested to voluntarily comply with the Government of Guam quarantine requirements and indicate their willingness by signing a Voluntary Quarantine Acknowledgement form. Persons who choose not to sign or do not agree to voluntarily comply with quarantine will be subject to Involuntary Quarantine and issued a directive for temporary quarantine. Individuals involuntarily quarantined will also be issued a copy of the 10 GCA Chapter 19 Article 6 and Definitions and notified of their right to legal representation.
Costs associated with the quarantine and/or treatment for persons who are subject to quarantine upon entry into Guam shall be the responsibility of the individual and the individual’s contracted carrier. In addition, all damages to assigned property will be the responsibility of the occupant.
This travel guidance does not apply to individuals identified as contacts to persons with Covid-19. Contacts will be subject to quarantine based on Guam Department of Public Health and Social Service contact investigation and quarantine protocols as well as U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, which may extend the quarantine period beyond 14 days.