Guam meets 64,000 vaccination target, but new clusters cause reopening delay

Updated: May 2




Guam has vaccinated 64,000 individuals, meeting the "Path to Half" goal, which was a prerequisite to the May 1 reopening of tourism and adjustment to quarantine protocols.


However, the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters has prompted Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to delay the reopening plan for another two weeks.


“This decision was based on science and medical advice,” the governor told the press conference Friday. “We cannot rush our recovery only to undo all the progress that we have made.”



While acknowledging the residents' impatience, the governor said she won't take the risk of undoing the progress made. The governor appealed to residents to"roll off your sleeves and get vaccinated. "This is the only way we can reopen," she said.


Public Health Director Art San Agustin said the department will continue monitoring the A Class and Tsubaki Tower clusters.


San Agustin said 381 individuals have yet to be tested in the recent A-Class Lounge and The Tsubaki Tower clusters however at this time no new cases have been identified said Chima Mbakwem, acting chief public health officer with the Public Health.


Currently from the 14 people who tested positive in the A-Class Lounge cluster, 8 have cleared active isolation, 6 are still in active isolation with 1 on a ventilator in the ICU.


In the past seven days, 1,957 have been tested with 1,927 tested negative.


Dr. Felix Cabrera said the new seven-day rolling average is 7.3. Guam's total count is 7,959. Of this number, 84 are in active isolation.


In the proposed updated quarantine plans, travelers who are not fully vaccinated will undergo a 10-day quarantine instead of 14 days in accordance with the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.


However, fully vaccinated travelers will have the opportunity to be exempted from quarantine altogether.


Proof of CDC Covid-19 Vaccination and Vaccinating Health Authority Record or Vaccinating Provider Record will be used to verify incoming travelers and reduce forged vaccination cards.


“Random and targeted audits will be conducted directly for source and verification and traveled with evidence of fraudulent records will be subject fine and or penalties that will be announced at a later date,” said Cabrera, chief medical officer for DPHSS


Leon Guerrero said even with the tourism reopening delay, the economy looks promising as we have reopened all establishments other than senior citizen centers.


“We have all of our retail open. We have all of our services open. We have our restaurants open- of course with still a limited occupancy... the construction industry is an area that never closed and we are starting to see more activity in the construction industry.”


“We are also looking at diversifying some of our industries and I am very hopeful that will be established,” she added.


ADVERTISEMENT


Although Guam is on track to the path of normalcy, the governor expects the tourism industry to see a very slow increase in visitors.


“We don’t expect more tourists to come until the second to the third quarter of 2022,” she said.


This has been one of the longest public health emergencies with the governor advising to stay vigilant and continue to follow Covid-19 protocols and receive a vaccine.


“Please continue to wash your hands, wear your mask and watch your distance. If you are eligible and have yet to get vaccinated, please make an appointment. To the people of Guam, thank you for doing your part to keep our island safe,”