- By Johanna Salinas
Guam’s Covid-19 death toll likely to hit 80 by Dec. 1
The Joint Information Center has reported Guam’s 63rd Covid19-related fatality, which occurred at the Guam Memorial Hospital around 5:49 a.m. today. The patient was a 51-year-old man with underlying comorbidities that were compounded by COVID-19. He was admitted to GMH on Sept. 4 and was a known positive case.
A 58-year-old man was the 62nd Covid-fatality. He died 5:55 p.m. Thursday. he was admitted to GMH on Sept. 14 and was a known positive case.
A model followed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention projected that Guam’s Covid-19 death count would hit 80 by Dec. 1.
“There are different models that can suggest that. I wouldn’t be surprised if we reached that, which would increase our death count by one third,” said Dr. Felix Cabrera, the governor’s medical advisor.
During a PowerPoint presentation Thursday, Cabrera said data showed that Guam was not yet done with the first wave when the second wave hit. Guam’s positivity rate averages 14 percent over the past seven days, he said.
The government reported 86 new cases out 571 samples tested Wednesday. Of the 86 new cases, 32 were identified through contact tracing.
To date, there have been a total of 3,427 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 1,072 cases in active isolation and 2,294 not in active isolation. Of those cases, 3,143 are classified as civilians and 284 are military service members.
During a press conference in the early afternoon Thursday, government officials reported 67 hospitalized Covid patients. The number of hospitalizations went up to 72 a few hours later. Of this total, 67 are being treated at the Guam Memorial Hospital, three at the Guam Regional Medical City and two at the Naval Hospital. At total of 19 are ICU patients
“Given that we started with five at the beginning of August and we’re now at 61 deaths, it’s easy to imagine we’ll easily meet that number,” Cabrera said, referring to CDC’s death forecast.
“What’s really important to follow here is not just Covid deaths but non-Covid deaths. We’ve been following the all-cause mortality here on Guam and we still don’t even have the full count for September for all deaths. Right now, it’s trending really high.”
In the past five years, Cabrera said, Guam had about 1,000 deaths over all.
“This year we’re probably going to surpass that in total by 150 or more. That’s what the trend is. I’m not surprised if it’ll be a lot more than that,” Cabrera said.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, meanwhile, sent her condolences to the family of the 62nd individual who died of Covid-19.
"As has been said before, those with a why to live can bear almost any how. Every single day we must reaffirm our commitment to keeping each other safe,” she said. “We not only wear our masks, social distance, and practice good hygiene for ourselves but for our loved ones as well."
At the Port Authority of Guam, three more employees tested positive for Covid-19, according to general manager Rory Respico.
The port’s contact tracing team identified 11 port employees as close contacts to its 12th case, and is working with the Department of Public Health and Social Services made arrangements for all of them to be tested. Testing is scheduled for tomorrow morning at DPHSS’ Northern Clinic.
“Three out of the 11 employees experienced Covid-19 symptoms as early as last Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, and have not been at work since the onset of their illness. They followed the governor and DPHSS’ directives by staying home because they were sick, and as a result of them being extremely responsible, no additional Port employees have been identified as close contacts,” said Respicio.
The latest positive cases brought the port’s total Covid-19 positives to 15 Port employees. In total, the port contact tracing team has been able to identify 349 cases of close contact exposure and has coordinated testing for all exposures with DPHSS.
“Our thoughts are with our employees who have tested positive and we pray for their full and speedy recovery,” Respicio said.