Data shows mortality risk much higher for Covid patients with diabetes
Updated: May 27
By Aurora Kohn
Recent Covid-19 tests indicated an increase in the number of new positive cases on Guam, health officials said.
Despite the increase in the number of infections, the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions remained the same with sporadic deaths, most of whom were patients from the elderly group.
Dr. Anne Pobutsky, the territorial epidemiologist, said most death certificates from Covid-19 indicated that the deceased patients had diabetes, hypertension or chronic lung disease.
“There is a consistent pattern. We have been talking about this for more than two years. The mortality risk is much higher for those who have diabetes, whether it’s dead on arrival or just regular old dying of Covid, along with end-stage renal disease, cardiovascular disease and hypertension,” Pobutsky said at a press conference on Thursday.
Pobutsky added that the data also shows that there is “under-reporting of obesity and current and former smoking.”
Dr. Michael Robinson of the Seventh Day Adventist Clinic said it was important for patients with diabetes to optimize their immune systems.
He said there are simple things that patients with diabetes can do to control their blood sugar, improve their ability to fight the effects of Covid-19 and improve their general health.
Robinson cited walking as an effective way of bringing one’s blood sugar down.
He recommended walking as a regular form of exercise but also said walking for 10 minutes after every meal will help “insulin resistance” come down.
Robinson stressed the importance of a healthy diet.
A good guide for meals is that one’s plate has to be half full of vegetables and fiber. The more natural colored food there is on the plate, the healthier the meal is, he said.
However, diabetics have to be careful with how much fruit they eat because fruit is usually high in sugar content and that half a serving of fruit is sufficient.
Lastly, he said a good night’s sleep is important to decreasing the body’s insulin resistance and giving the body a chance to recover.
“Think of those simple things that you can do," Robinson said. "Make sure that you check up with your physician and take your medication that has been prescribed. But keep focused on the normal simple thing: the exercise, the healthy diet and a good night’s rest."
The Department of Public Health and Social Services reported that the seven-day rolling average of new Covid-19 infections on Guam went above 30 cases from the previous weeks’ average of 25 cases, while the seven-day positivity rate rose slightly to closer to 6 percent. The seven-day positivity rate was closer to 5 percent in April.
The increase in the number of new infections was accompanied by a “slight increase’’ in testing during the past week. Consistent with the increase in the seven-day rolling average and positivity rate, new infection rates increased across all age groups starting in mid-May with the 18 -39 age group showing the largest number of new infections. Most of the cases were asymptomatic, mirroring last week’s data.
There were 32 new confirmed cases on May 26, and 42 on May 25.
To date, there have been a total of 48,907 officially reported cases, 362 deaths, 258 cases in active isolation, and 48,287 not in active isolation.
Health officials advised Guam residents to continue practicing the 3Ws: washing hands, wearing a mask and watching your distance.
While numbers of new infections remained in the low range and there was no significant increase in hospitalizations and deaths, health officials said the pandemic is not over and they continue to keep a close watch over new cases.
DPHSS officials also encouraged those who have not availed of vaccinations and booster shots to do so, especially those who are 50 years and above.
Data shows that only 74.15 percent of Guam residents 50 years old and above have availed of the first booster shot. Second booster shots are available for residents 50 years old and above.