Covid spike prompts reinstatement of mask mandate on Guam military bases
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The sudden spike in Covid-19 cases on Guam has prompted the Joint Region Marianas to reinstate the mask-wearing policy at all military installations on island.
"After two months of a downward trend, we are now experiencing a rapid
increase in Covid-19 cases, and we want to make sure we get ahead of the
spread and slow it back down to protect our families and our island," said
JRM Commander Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson.
In the past three days, Guam has recorded a total of 662 new Covid-19 cases, reversing the weeks of flatline. Although omicron data for Guam is not currently not available, local public health officials said the surge indicated that the newest Covid-19 variant has hit the island.
In a press release, JRM said all personnel on Department of Defense installations are required to wear face coverings in congregate settings whether indoors or outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.
This policy is applicable to all military personnel stationed, assigned to
temporary duty, or assigned to a visiting unit temporarily located in Guam,
and to civilian dependents, contractors and DoD civilian employees and
visitors to DoD installations.
Military officials said mask-wearing is not required during physical training activity or due to operational necessity as determined by individual unit commanders.
"U.S. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base retain primary
responsibility for the management of declared public health emergencies
onboard their installations," JRM said. "Unit commanders retain discretion to implement more restrictive policies in line with preserving public health or
Nicholson encourages all eligible recipients to also receive a Covid-19 vaccine booster shot. "The health and safety of our personnel, families, employees and our larger community remains a top priority, and vaccinating against Covid-19 remains our best defense against the disease," he said.