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DPHSS: Guam back in high-risk category, but restrictions won't be reinstated

By Aurora Kohn

As Guam’s community risk level once again teeters into the high-risk category, the Department of Public Health and Social Services advised the community to continue practicing safety measure, get vaccinated and boosted.

“What Public Health has always recommended, because we are in a pandemic, is wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands. That message has never, never changed,” said Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, interim medical officer at DPHSS.

As of June 29, the seven-day rolling average of new infections per day per 100,000 persons was 108 persons per day which puts Guam in the high-risk category, according to Vince Campo, surveillance branch director of the DPHSS.

There were 15 Covid-19 patients, including a child, who were hospitalized, which number came down from a high of 21 a few days earlier. There were two cases in the ICU as of Thursday.

While there was no significant increase in deaths, Guam’s 372nd Covid-19 death was reported late Thursday. The fatality was an 84-year-old woman who was fully vaccinated and boosted, but had underlying health conditions.

The department reported 181 new Covid-19 cases of 1,178 specimens collected on June 28. Nineteen of the new cases were from the military. Guam’s total of 51,769 officially reported cases of Covid-19 infections was 51, 769. There were 630 cases in active isolation and 50,678 not in active isolation.

Despite the new hospital admissions, DPHSS said it would not recommend the return of the mask mandate and will continue to follow current CDC guidelines.

“Yes, people are still getting sick. That’s the fact. What it also tells us is that the amount of vaccines that we have given shows that even though we are getting infected, we are not getting as sick as we did before," Leon Guerrero.

"So the recommendation for the mask mandate, I don’t think that would be thought of until we see more hospitalizations, more ICU cases and more deaths," he added.


Current travel requirements for Guam will not change either

“We are following CDC guidance. We are watching our numbers. No restriction is being imposed at this time,“ said Patrick Luces, Covid-19 incident commander.

Data showed that most of the new infections were transmitted through household and workplace contacts.

“Nothing has been major with surging gatherings. We haven’t made light yet with big gatherings causing mass infections and things like that. But we are continuing to monitor,” said Campo.

Campo advised the public to provide information about who they were in contact with when asked by members of his team. This information is crucial to identifying possible clusters and determining what has been driving the surge in new infections, he added.

Among the things that concern DPHSS is the rise in number of new infections among the vulnerable groups.

“Right now, 60 to 74 has overtaken the 40 to 59. It seems like the 60 to 75-plus started to go up as well. And these are the very people we need to be very cautious of," Campo said. "These are generally the people who feed into our hospitalizations and the ICU levels of care."

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