By Aurora Kohn
The Department of Public Health and Social Services advised Guam residents to take safety precautions as the seven-day rolling average of new Covid-19 infections continued its upward trajectory.
Most of the new Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic and the infected person, though not manifesting any symptoms, could pass the virus to others.
Public health officials said the current risk level does not warrant the reinstatement of the mask mandate, but just the same, they advised residents to cover their faces and practice social distancing.
Today, the department reported 121 new positive cases from 2,119 specimens collected on June 15. Twenty-three cases were reported through the Department of Defense.
To date, there have been a total of 50,485 officially reported cases on Guam, 370 deaths and 597 cases in active isolation. There are currently eight hospital admissions,
The seven-day rolling average of new cases from May 1 to June 14 was above 80 cases per day which puts Guam in the medium-risk category for this indicator.
Testing remained “steady” but the positivity rate was at 18 percent, which was considered high.
The working-age groups, specifically of 18-39 and 49-59 age groups, showed the highest increase in infection rates but all age groups showed an increase in new infections.
Despite the rise in the new cases, DPHSS did not feel it was necessary to recommend a return of the mask mandates for now.
“We did have a formula for this and it’s when we go above 100 cases per day on average,” said Dr. Ann Pobutsky, Guam’s territorial epidemiologist. “It might be that we are in a phase where the virus is more transmissible but we’re not seeing a crisis mode at the hospital or increase in deaths.”
DPHSS said it will continue to monitor the increase in the rate of infections and changes in the hospitalization rate closely.
DPHSS urged those above 60 and those who live with comorbidities to wear masks and observe social distancing when around others and complete their vaccinations and booster shots. These groups are especially vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19.
“It’s kind of important, especially for people my age and older with health issues. Our immune systems are not as vibrant as they were when we were younger,” said Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, interim medical director. “I would always wear a mask, from now on, when I’m around a lot of people. I think that’s just the new norm.”
According to estimates provided by DPHSS, there are 41, 780 Guam residents who are above 50 years old and therefore qualified to receive booster shots.
Only 31,232 residents or 74.7 percent of Guam residents who are 50 and above have received their first booster, leaving around 25 percent of residents above 50 exposed and vulnerable to Covid-19.
Residents above 12 years old who are either completing their “last dose in the primary series” or receiving their first or second booster shot can avail of incentives provided by GovGuam such as gas coupons and gift certificates.