Guam has recorded a total of 396 new Covid-19 positive cases from Nov. 6 to 8, showing a daily average of 132.
Nov. 8 yielded the largest number with 190 positive cases.
To date, there have been a total of 5,473 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 90 deaths, 1,729 cases in active isolation and 3,654 not in active isolation.
The breakdown of reporting to DPHSS by day is as follows: 58 on Nov. 6; 148 on Nov. 7 and 190 on Nov. 8.
Of the 396 cases, 135 cases were identified through contact tracing and clusters in congregating living settings were identified. Seven cases reported recent travel from the United States and were identified in quarantine.
At the Guam Legislature, a measure that would beef up resources at the Department of Public Health and Social Services received public support.
Bill 420-35, introduced by Sen. Mary Camacho Torres and Speaker Tina Muña Barnes, would appropriate $470,000 to the ailing department, which leads Guam's battle against Covid-19.
“We are highly supportive of this bill. As you know, in November 2019, the Public Health facility in Mangilao experienced an electrical fire which forced all the programs within the building to vacate the premises including the Guam Public Health Laboratory testing,” said Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Suzanne Kaneshiro.
The Guam Public Health Laboratory provides critical diagnostic laboratory testing for Covid-19, with the ability to identify positive cases within hours of testing. While the funds may be used for the laboratory, the bill allows the DPHSS to use it for more urgent operations as it deems necessary.
Also publicly heard was Bill 415-35, also introduced by Torres, which would appropriate $50,000 from her unexpended office funds to the Department of Administration to conduct a nurse wage study . The wage study is part of an effort to accelerate the recruitment and address the nursing shortage exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.
In testimony provided to the Committee on Appropriations, Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez stated that he supported a wage study to ensure that nurses in Guam are paid at an appropriate pay scale. “There will continue to be a need to ensure that Guam can retain and attract nurses to support our level of effort at the community health front and in our healthcare system overall,” said Fernandez.
The government of Guam’s Nurse Pay Plan currently has 38 positions, covering Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Community Health and Nursing Services, hospital administrators and supervisors, and school health counselors.
“Bill 415 is part of a multi-pronged response to Guam’s nursing shortage,” said Torres, referring to her highly requested companion measure, Bill 239, which seeks to add Guam to the Nurse Licensure Compact. “I thank the Chairman for agreeing to hear this bill and report it out in an expeditious manner. It is my hope that when Bill 415 moves forward, it is accompanied by the recruitment efforts of Bill 239 out of respect for the requests of Guam’s nurse community.”