- By Pacific island Times News Staff
Unless Guam's risk score drops, forget about your holiday parties
Preparing for your Thanksgiving and Christmas parties? Think again. The government is likely to impose more restrictions on social gatherings during the last two holidays of the year—unless Guam’s Covid Area Risk (CAR) score drops dramatically, according to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
The governor said Guam’s current CAR score is 9.8, which indicates that viral transmission within the community is high.
“We can still celebrate holidays— it’s not impossible— if we achieve a CAR score of five or less for the next few weeks. Then, I will be inclined to lift additional social gathering restrictions,” the governor said in a special address to the island.
The Joint Information Center reported Guam's 90th Covid-19 death today and 120 new positive cases out of 489 samples tested Sunday, raising the island's positivity rate to 24.5 percent. To date, there have been a total of 5,233 officially reported cases since March, 1,742 cases in active isolation, 3,402 not in active isolation and 102 hospital admissions.
CAR score gauges the risk of travelers introducing the virus from their point of origin. The governor said this scoring system proved effective at calculating the risk.
The governor renewed her appeal to the community to continue abiding by public health policies and protocols.
“I am calling on each of you to Strive for Five, to maintain a CAR score of five or under for the next few weeks. We do this by wearing our masks, watching our distance, washing our hands, and having the will to do it,” she said.
“We all have a role to play in fighting Covid-19. And our vigilance cannot waiver. We have overcome every adversity we have been faced with and this pandemic should be no different.”
A CAR score of five, however, does not mean the risk is eliminated, Leon Guerrero said. “It’s only the next step. To fully suppress Covid, we will need to be below a score of 2.5, like we were for a majority of summer,” she said.
“If we achieve this goal as soon as possible, and sustain it through Thanksgiving, then we can experience some semblance of normalcy during the Christmas season and beyond,” the governor said.
She reported a five-point action undertaken by the government to address the unabated Covid-19 transmission.
One: deploying the Rapid Engagement Team in subdivisions most vulnerable for Covid-19 spread Two: working directly with FSM community leaders and have them involved in our outreach efforts. Three: increased our daily testing to an average of over 600 tests per day. Four: shifting our messaging to focus on spread within and between households, spread at workplaces, and pleas to avoid eating with people not in your household. And five: increased public awareness of increasing deaths and hospital census overflow.
"With these five actions, we have seen an overall downward trend for daily new cases over the past 13 days and test positivity rates for the past 19 days; however, both are still dangerously high," the governor said.
Guam reported its first outbreak on March 14 and had initial success in controlling the coronaviorus transmission until the second wave rolled in around August. The island remains in Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1.