Task Force Engineer Airmen from the Guam National Guard's 254th Red Horse Squadron set up a COVID-19 testing and evaluation tent at the Guam Regional Medical City in Dededo on Oct. 8. The tent will serve as a temporary structure for GRMC to test and evaluate suspected Covid-19 positive patients." Photo courtesy of GUNG
Guam's positivity rate has fluctuated between 10 percent and 14 percent over the past week and remains among the highest in the nation. Friday's test results showed 55 positive cases from 424 samples, indicating a 12.9 percent positivity rate.
The territory is among the U.S. jurisdictions with positivity rates exceeding the 5 percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organization. Based on the Becker Hospital's Review, Idaho leads the pack with 24.2 percent. Guam's 12.9 percent ranked 10th, following Indiana with 13.4 percent.
Medical experts say an extremely high positivity rate 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.
Guam has had a total of 2,989 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 58 deaths, 859 cases in active isolation and 2,072 not in active isolation. Of those cases, 2,709 are classified as civilians and 280 are military service members.
Of the 52 Covid patients currently being treated the Guam Memorial Hospital, 12 are in ICU.
Of the 55 new cases, 16 were identified through contact tracing. Two cases reported recent travel from the United States and were identified in quarantine.
On Oct. 8, the Guam Department of Education confirmed that one additional GDOE employee tested positive for Covid-19 at Jose Rios Middle School (JRMS).
The case was identified through contact tracing efforts. The GDOE is working closely with DPHSS to conduct contact tracing and any close contacts of the confirmed case will be contacted directly by DPHSS.
The department said JRMS will remain open and areas of the campus will be identified for cleaning and disinfecting as needed. Employees will not have access to these areas until cleaning has been completed.
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Agaña said a parishioner of San Vicente Catholic Church in Barrigada has tested positive. The individual informed staff at the San Vicente office today and the Archdiocese notified the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
Church officials said San Vicente Catholic Church is working closely with Public Health and is taking the necessary steps to safeguard everyone in the community.
This includes working with Public Health on contact tracing and thorough sanitization to include deep cleaning of the church with a machine. Though the parishioner may have contracted the virus elsewhere and not necessarily at the church, these safety protocols are being taken because the person indicated they had attended weekday Mass at the parish.
The church will remain closed today and Saturday. It will reopen Sunday for its usual Masses.
The Archdiocese of Agana said earlier it will not celebrate Masses at any cemeteries across the island this year on All Souls Day, Monday, Nov. 2.
"We acknowledge the joint news release issued by directors of Catholic and private cemeteries yesterday, Oct. 7 announcing that their cemeteries will be closed on All Souls Day weekend, Saturday Oct. 31 to Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 and that All Souls Masses at their sites are cancelled this year. We understand the decision by the cemetery directors which was made to safeguard against the spread of Covid-19 in our community," the Archdiocese said in a press statement.