- By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Feds beef up Covid response aid for Guam amid surge of infections
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
FEMA deploying lab technicians to Guam; DOD approves $32m for construction of public health lab
The federal government is augmenting its Covid-19 response support for Guam as the island struggles to contain the raging transmissions of the delta-intensified coronavirus.
Over the last seven days, Guam has logged more than 1,200 additional coronavirus cases with daily reporting of death. Hospital admissions have increased to 75 as of last night. Statistics also show a growing number of vaccinated individuals getting hospitalized.
At the request of the Department of Public Health and Social Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending two clinical laboratory scientists, who are arriving today to assist the Guam Public Health Laboratory in expediting Covid tests analysis.
The governor's office said FEMA is also sending three five-member teams that will oversee and provide outpatient monoclonal antibody therapy. They are expected to arrive on Sept. 13. Two personnel already deployed to Guam to assist in logistics will also continue through Septe. 30.
“Like the rest of the world, we are embattled with the Covid-19 delta variant--a more transmissible strain that continues to thwart our response efforts and affect our way of life,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “While the surge in positive cases within our community is alarming, we are building capacity, and we continue to provide intervention in our collective efforts to diminish the variant’s impact on our fragile healthcare system and save lives.”
To date, there have been a total of 12,034 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 155 deaths, 2,550 cases in active isolation, and 9,330not in active isolation. The CAR Score is 43.1.
Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio added, “Every day for the last 18 months and counting, our front liners have demonstrated tireless service to our island. Our administration will do what must be done to support them and ensure that their sacrifices aren’t for naught.”
The public health department has also requested 20 vaccinators to assist the DPHSS Guam Community Health Centers and vaccination points of dispensing.
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense's Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation has approved $32 million for the construction of the new Guam Public Health Biosafety Laboratory Level 2-3.
The governor's office said the official notice of award was issued today.
“This pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in Guam’s healthcare system, and a new public health laboratory will provide the necessary diagnostic services that will help health care providers treat diseases beyond Covid-19,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.
“Since our island serves as a point of origin for foreign visitors to the United States and the free migration of citizens from the Compacts of Freely Associated states, there is an even greater need for enhanced analytical testing services in our region.”
The grant will be administered by the Community Defense Liaison Office, Office of the Governor, in partnership with the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services.
The grant for Guam's lab project was provided under the National Defense Authorization Act.
“Covid-19 and our current conditions with the delta variant validate that medical and public health services are critical to the entire island and our region,” added Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio. “Covid-19 or any other infectious disease makes no distinction on or off military installations.”