By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Noting the slowdown in community transmission of coronavirus on Guam, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero began easing some restrictions on social gathering effective Nov. 20.
"These last few months have been especially devastating. While the delta variant has proved a formidable enemy, we have not and did not surrender," the governor said in a press conference. "Although the fight is far from over, today we recognize the progress we have made."
Outdoor dining will be permitted regardless of a patron’s vaccination status, subject to Public Health guidance, the governor said.
However, she said, indoor dining at restaurants and bars will continue to be restricted to patrons who provide proof of vaccination.
The mask mandate, social distancing, and vaccination and testing requirements for staff who enter their premises remain in place for covered establishements. The indoor social gathering limitation will be increased from 10 vaccinated individuals to 25 individuals, regardless of vaccination status; and the outdoor social gathering limitation will be increased from 25 vaccinated individuals to 75 individuals outdoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Under the new guidelines, individuals traveling from a foreign country must comply with the new federal requirements to board a flight and are further subject to quarantine at a government facility with the following exceptions.
Individuals may be exempt from quarantine upon presenting proof of:
○ full vaccination with FDA authorized or approved, or WHO Emergency Use Listing approved Covid-19 vaccines.
"This isn’t a new exception to quarantine. What we are doing is aligning with the CDC international travel requirements and recognizing those that may have different doses of vaccines as being eligible for quarantine exemption," the governor said.
In addition, a valid negative PCR test result collected no more than three days prior to departure, instead of the current guidance which states “arrival,” will be accepted.
"We are adding a third way to avoid quarantine requirements, which is a valid negative antigen test result collected no more than one day prior to departure (boarding a flight to Guam), as provided in Public Health guidance," the governor said. The territorial epidemiologist Dr. Ann Pobutsky noted a continued downward trend in this third wave. Guam is reporting fewer Covid hospitalizations, fewer Covid positive cases and fewer Covid-related deaths. "Let me be clear: we are not here today to call victory from this virus," Leon Guerrero said. "We can, however, begin to loosen our grip on the restrictions we put in place at the peak of this third surge by moving toward a responsible and gradual easing of restrictions."
The governor said easing restrictions was imperative due to what is at stake.
"We know our front liners are exhausted. We know our students need to stay in school," she said. "And we know our families, especially those who have lost loved ones to this virus, need to heal."
But the fight against the pandemic is not over, the governor said.
"If you are feeling sick, please get tested. Testing ensures we identify new cases quickly, and it helps us stop the virus in its tracks. Testing ensures we get you the medical care and attention you need sooner. And most importantly, it saves lives—because as we experienced over the course of this third wave, too many arrived at our hospitals DOA or dead on arrival, not knowing they had the virus," she said,
She reminded residents that treatment has been available for those who tested positive for Covid-19.
"To date, we have helped nearly 1,000people get better faster. Monoclonal antibody treatment can be done as an outpatient service—meaning you don’t have to go to a hospital to get this care," she said.
She also urged those who need to take their second vaccine shot or booster to go back to the vaccination clinic.
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