Guam logs 399 new Covid cases in two days; 10 delta variants identified
Berg: We're helpless against Covid variants
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Although omicron data for Guam may not be immediately available, the new spike in coronavirus cases indicated that the newest Covid-19 variant has entered the island, according to the governor's top medical advisor.
"Just like the delta variant, there was nothing additional that we could’ve done to avoid omicron infecting our community," said Dr. Nathaniel Berg, chair of the governor's Physicians Advisory Group.
The Department of Public Health and Social Services today reported 189 new Covid cases out of 1,351 tests run on Jan. 4. Adding this new number to the 210 cases reported the day before, Guam has recorded a total of 399 in the last two days.
Hospitalizations are beginning to climb again with 13 admissions. DPHSS has also reported 10 cases with delta variants, which have been identified among the virus samples collected on Guam between Dec. 6 and 16. They underwent genome sequencing by the Hawaii Department of Health State Laboratory Division.
To date, there have been a total of 20,088 officially reported cases, accounting for 12.5 percent of Guam's population. Guam's death toll is 273. There are 808 cases currently in isolation, and 19,007 not inactive isolation.
The island's Covid Area Risk score, which has been showing a yo-yo pattern for two years, shot up to 37.9 today.
"The holidays brought increased travel and gatherings. Our Physicians Advisory Group and Public Health officials forecasted that this would lead to a rapid rise in cases and it has," Berg said.
"We are certain that the omicron variant is present on our island. And what do we do when our personal health or our community health takes a sudden turn? We turn to our healthcare providers and seek guidance," he added.
Guam is still awaiting the availability of the new Covid-19 antiviral pills, which have been greenlighted by the Food and Drug Administration through emergency use authorization.
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"We will keep you posted as Public Health has proactively placed their orders for these antiviral pills. In fact, they did so as soon as it was approved by the FDA,": Berg said.
In the meantime, he urged the community to reinstate their precautions.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero partially eased some restrictions on social gatherings before the holidays, which many took as a cue to let their guard down.
"If you have already relaxed your personal measures–feeling okay about it–things have changed," Berg said.
"Now is the time for everyone to wear their mask correctly in public indoor settings and especially in areas of substantial or high community transmission, such as at school or in the healthcare environment."
Public health officials reiterated their reminders for residents to be on alert for emergency warning signs of Covid-19.
"Seek emergency medical care immediately or call 911 if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face," reads the government's advisory.
Berg said "testing and treating Covid-19 as efficiently as possible will help us heal."
"Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the omicron variant," he added.
As of Jan. 4, a total of 129,906 of Guam’s eligible population (residents 5 years and older) is fully vaccinated.