Public Health strategy shifts focus to intervention
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
An 83-year-old man was pronounced dead on arrival at Guam Memorial Hospital on Feb. 10. He was vaccinated and had underlying health conditions. He tested positive on Feb. 6 and again on Feb. 10.
“Tonight we mourn another loved one lost to this deadly virus, and we are reminded that the fight is not yet over,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
“To his family and friends, Jeff, Josh, and I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences during your time of grieving and sadness. To our community, we call on each of you to recommit to the public health interventions that have brought us to where we are today.”
Today, the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) reported 623 new cases of Covid-19 from 1,755 specimens analyzed on February 10, 2022. 75 of the cases reported today are through the Department of Defense.
To date, there have been a total of 39,295 officially reported cases, 306 deaths, 7,083 cases in active isolation, and 31,906 not in active isolation.
Dr. Annette David, chair of the Guam State Epidemiological Workshop, said Guam is now shifting focus to interventions using available tools and resources.
In a government-released video message, David also continues the push for existing safety measures that have been in place since the onset of the pandemic.
Following is the transcript of Dr. David's message:
Early in the epidemic when community transmission was low, remember we were focusing on lockdowns. Stay at home. Why? Because we wanted to prevent people from getting exposed to the virus in public. Now, the virus is very common in the environment. So maybe staying at home is not as effective.
What we need to focus on are the interventions to prevent infection.
If you're out there and the virus out there, what can you do to prevent it from getting into your body? So vaccination is very key and boosters very key, but also masking, physical distancing, and ventilation. You know, your supply.
If you still get infected, despite doing all that, then you go to the next phase. It's what can you do to prevent yourself from getting severely ill and having to get into the hospital?
And at that point, vaccination still has a big role. But also your monoclonal antibodies and the anti-virals that we have: the paxlovid, the molnupiravir, and now remdesvir are also being used for that.
And then, if unfortunately, despite that, you still end up in the hospital, then to prevent death, you have to have ICU care. So at each point, there are different things that you can do. But I think the takeaway message is that we have now all these different interventions that we can use, which we never had in 2020.
We didn't have the vaccine back then. We didn't have the antivirals. We didn't have the monoclonal antibodies back then. We have them now. But we have to take action.
So us as individuals, we have to proactively wear our masks. We have to proactively go for our vaccines and our boosters. If we do get symptoms, we have to proactively get tested, so we know if we're infected or not. And if we are testing positive and we are older, like myself, or we have chronic illnesses, then we have to speak to our physicians so that they can determine if monoclonal antibodies or the antivirals can help.
So that's the continuum: exposure, infection, severe disease, hospitalization, and death. So at every point, there's something we can do, and it's important to get that message out.