Guam's death toll hits 77; Governor says fight against Covid taking longer than expected
Guam's fight against Covid-19 "has gone on far longer than any of us imagined," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said Wednesday, announcing the deaths of two more patients at the Guam Memorial Hospital.
Leon Guerrero signed a new executive order extending the public health emergency through Nov. 29. Under the new directive, the governor suspends "rule-making procedures" that would "hinder or delay necessary action by the (Department of Public Health and Social Services) to respond to the Covid-19 public health emergency.
"Notwithstanding our efforts to enable our residents to stay safe, the metrics tracking Guam's progress indicate that, as a community, we must do more in containing the Covid-19 virus," the executive order reads.
Guam's latest death is 77 and the number of hospitalization has gone up to 86.
An 82-year-old woman was pronounced dead on arrival at GMH around 3:23 a.m. Wednesday. The patient had underlying conditions and expired at home in hospice care. She was a known Covid-19 case and was previously admitted to GMH, according to the Joint Information Center.
A 41-year-old man passed away at 12:26 p.m. The patient, who had underlying health conditions complicated by Covid-19, admitted to GMH on Oct. 5 and tested positive upon admission.
“Our island continues to mourn as we lose another soul to Covid-19. Jeff, Lt. Gov. Josh, and I send her family and friends our sincerest condolences and sympathies,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “We cannot let our resolve falter. We cannot let our guard down. And we cannot let ourselves be defeated by this virus. "
To date, there have been a total of 4,466 officially reported cases of Covid-19, with 1,772 in active isolation and 2,618 not in active isolation. Of the 48 new cases reported today, five were identified through contact tracing.
The A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority reported another positive case today.
“Although the community spread of the COVID-19 virus continues to have an impact on our island, the GIAA continues its due diligence in mandating proper social distancing, wearing a face mask, and providing every opportunity to disinfect hands throughout the terminal building to ensure the traveling public is kept safe,” said John “JQ” Quinata, GIAA executive manager. “Our most recent notification of a positive case of Covid19 among our employees does not appear to be related to any previously reported cases.”
Airport officials said access to the airport terminal is restricted to GIAA-authorized employees, those providing GIAA-approved essential services, and ticketed passengers. "Therefore, well-wishers of departing passengers are strongly encouraged to express their farewell wishes to departing passengers prior to arriving at the airport terminal, as congregation at the curbside is highly discouraged," GIAA said.
The airport continues to operate a 100 percent thermal screening program upon entry into designated entry points, the required use of face masks/coverings, and the mandating of social distancing.
“We continue to provide the support needed to our employees that have tested positive for Covid-19 and we hope for their swift recovery," Quinata said. "At the same time, we continue to remind everyone that enters the terminal building that the safety and security of the traveling public is of utmost importance and the airport continues to encourage and enforce these safe practices.”
The Department of Corrections has been notified that five recruits and six officers assigned to DOC’s Adult Correctional Facility in Mangilao have tested positive for Covid-19. Some of the infected officers were off-duty and reported experiencing flu-like symptoms, while other officers who were on duty and reported feeling ill were immediately secured from duty.
Through DOC’s internal contact tracing efforts, 19 officers were ordered to quarantine at home for 14 days and were instructed to seek medical attention upon the onset of any signs of illness. As a further result of these efforts, 20 inmates and 10 officers who were identified as close contacts were also tested by the DOC medical clinic and received negative results. At this time, there are no reported cases of Covid-19 within DOC’s inmate population.