• By Pacific island Times News Staff

Guam's 67th Covid death, 130 new cases reported


(Updated)

A 72-year-old man died at 6:27 a.m. today, a few hours after he was admitted to the Guam Regional Medical City, where he tested Covid-19 positive. He was Guam's 67th Covid-19 fatality. There was no available information about his medical condition prior to coronavirus infection.

“To those who loved him, please know that you are not alone in your mourning. On behalf of Jeff, Lt. Gov. Josh, and our entire island, please accept our heartfelt sympathies and condolences during this most difficult time,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “While I pray that no more families will have to receive this painful call, I also know that we all must do what is necessary to prevent further deaths from occurring. Wearing our face masks and practicing social distancing are the best tools we have to stop the spread.”

On Monday, the Joint Information Center reported 130 new postive cases out of 957 samples tested, indicating a positivity rate of 13.5 percent.

To date, there have been a total of 3,886 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 67 deaths, 1,466 cases in active isolation and 2,354 not in active isolation. Of those cases, 3,601 are classified as civilians and 285 are military service members.

Of the 130 new cases, 22 were identified through contact tracing. Five cases reported recent travel: three from the United States and two from the Philippines and were identified in quarantine.

Results include Monday’s Rapid Engagement Team outreach in Yigo. Of the 131 samples collected, 36 were positive for Covid-19.

A total of 70 Covid patients are hospitalized: 59 at the Guam Memorial Hospitral, seven at GRMC and four at the Naval Hospital.

On Tuesday, the Guam Department of Education confirmed that two employees tested positive for Covid-19. One case was identified at Jose Rios Middle School and another at Ordot Chalan Pago Elementary School. Both cases were identified through contact tracing efforts.

The GDOE is working closely with DPHSS to conduct contact tracing and any close contacts of the confirmed cases will be contacted directly by DPHSS.

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At the Guam International Airport, two more employees were confirmed positive for Covid-19.

"Although we have been regularly sanitizing all areas, we will undertake another full round of sanitization of GIAA office spaces to ensure a safe work environment for our staff," GIAA Executive Manager John JQ" Quinata said.

Executive management and administrative offices located on the third floor have been closed today and will remain closed tomorrow, Oct. 21, for intensive and thorough sanitization, GIAA said.

Airport officials said internal contact tracing has already been initiated, and employees identified as close contacts have been advised to self-quarantine at home and are expected to be tested as soon as possible.

"Our airport operations remain unaffected and it is business as usual with the new measures in place to ensure the safety and protection of the island community and the traveling public," Quinata said.

"Again, only GIAA-authorized employees, passengers and those providing GIAA-approved essential services are allowed in the terminal with controlled entry and 100 percent thermal screening in place. The mandatory use of face masks/coverings is strictly enforced along with social distancing while the practice of good hygiene and frequent hand washing is encouraged."

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Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Agaña announced the establishment of a contact-tracing team and contact tracing protocols to help with mitigation should an exposure occur within the archdiocese.

The Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission is coordinating the Church’s work in this area. Members of the contact tracing team are currently undergoing training for certification from the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University.

Upon completion and certification, their names will be officially announced as appointments by Archbishop Michael Byrnes.

The Liturgical Commission developed the contact tracing protocols in consultation with medical personnel that are actively serving in our parishes.

Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission members Cathy Rivera Castro and Ismael “Temo” Perez are the lead coordinators of the contact tracing team, which consists of volunteers.

"The archdiocese emphasizes that our contact tracing protocols do not replace or substitute any contact tracing protocols or actual contact tracing that is done by the Department of Public Health. Rather, it is meant to assist in this vital work. We have worked and will continue to work with the dedicated staffers of Public Health," the archdiocese said in a press statement.

"The archdiocese’s contact tracing protocols and contract tracing team are part of the Church’s efforts to be diligent in the way we address any exposures within our parishes. These standards and the work of the contact tracing team will help to minimize the spread of Covid-19 in our community. "

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