By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Guam gov reinstates cap on gatherings, suspends face-to-face classes
Under the new directive only the vaccinated can party
Shunning protesters who oppose her current Covid-19 directives, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today announced new and more stringent restrictions on social gatherings and suspended face-to-face classes amid a new wave of infections.
"And I want to be clear and direct: our situation is serious," the governor said in a special video address, while protesters were staging another rally in the capital village of Hagatna. .
The governor noted that Covid-19 tests over the past five days have been yielding triple-digit positive infection results.
Guam has had more than 500 new positive cases over the last five days.
To date, there have been a total of 9,867 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 145 deaths, 930 cases in active isolation, and 8,792 not in active isolation. The CAR Score is 25.2.
"Hospitalizations have increased 300 percent in the last two weeks. There are 35 Covid hospitalizations between GMH, GRMC, and Naval Hospital, 5 of which are in the ICU. Of these 35 admissions, at least 20 are not vaccinated," she said. "The rising number of cases,the hospitalizations, and the growing pressure on our fragile healthcare system, among other factors, sends a clear signal that it is time to adjust our strategy," the governor added.
Effective Aug. 30, social gatherings will be limited to "10 vaccinated persons indoors and 25 vaccinated persons outdoors." Restaurant dine-in and bars remain at 100 percent vaccinated occupancy.
Other existing restrictions will remain in place, the governor said.
Leon Guerrero said the new policy was recommended by State Surgeon Dr. Mike Cruz, Public Health Medical Director Dr. Felix Cabrera, public health officials, economic recovery advisors, as well as community and business stakeholders.
"I have listened to leaders in our medicaland business community who agree—we must protect our people," the governor said.
Following Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez's advice, the governor will temporarily suspend face-to-face learning for pre-kinder through 12th grade, effective Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, at 8 a.m. "While data at this time does not indicate the existence of school clusters, I am being proactive about the eventuality of spread in our schools," the governor said.
"I am receiving messages and calls concerning the fears and anxieties that our parents, teachers, and students are facing because of the increase in positive cases. I recognize that our children’s education is critical. But my concern for their protection comes first," the governor said. During this suspension, she said, public and private education officials will explore other modes of learning. "Despite our community’s best efforts to get vaccinated, the delta variant has proven to be a new and different enemy. It is not like the Covid of 2019 or 2020. It is far more contagious and more harmful," Leon Guerrero said. "While the vaccine won’t prevent you from getting or spreading the virus, it will help keep you out of the hospital."
In Hagatna, more than 100 people gathered to continue their protests against the governor's push for the vaccine. Some protesters also opposed the policy that segregates the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
Leon Guerrero said she shares the community's frustration and fatigue. "I also recognize that my frustration and fatigue cannot compare to the impact this pandemic has had on our doctors, our nurses, our first responders, our grocery workers, and the countless others who work every day to keep our island moving," she added.