Guam's Covid cases continue to drop; DPHSS on alert for monkeypox
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
By Aurora Kohn
The Department of Public Health said Covid- 19 cases on Guam continued to decline over the past month, but health officials remain on alert for monkeypox and dengue fever.
The department said no new monkeypox cases have been detected since the first case was identified earlier. There is no history of close contact with the identified case.
Officials said the public health department currently has limited vaccines for monkeypox. The supply is good only for about 150 people. Only persons who have been exposed to monkeypox qualify for the vaccines due to the limited supply of vaccines.
No additional cases of dengue fever have been identified since the single case reported last week.
Covid-19 cases remained low during the period from Aug. 17 to Sept. 13.
“The seven-day rolling average of cases is less than 30 per day, which is great,” said Dr. Ann Pobutsky, Guam’s territorial epidemiologist at Thursday's press briefing.
She also said local case numbers are converging with travelers’ case numbers as a result of substantially reduced testing for travelers. Guam has reduced testing requirements for travelers as more destination countries have dispensed with Covid-19 testing requirements.
All age groups have shown a decrease in the number of new cases and case numbers across age groups show convergence.
Pobutsky added that Covid-19 hospitalizations also decreased islandwide. More importantly, she said hospitalizations “have remained well below the surge indicator to 20 per day since mid-August and the ICU count has not ever gone above the surge threshold per day during this recent surge.”
Deaths continue to be sporadic but there has been no death recorded “in more than a week.”
On Sept. 14, there were 27 new cases with 12 patients in hospital and one case in ICU.
Guam has had 58,335 reported Covid-19 cases with 394 deaths.
Aside from wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing, the Department of Public Health said vaccinations are still the best protection against Covid-19.
Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, interim chief medical officer of the Department of Public Health, said the new bivalent booster is available on island. The bivalent booster affords protection against both the original Covid-19 virus and its various mutations. The bivalent boosters are available at Dededo Public Health clinic and Inarajan Public Health clinic, said Leon Guerrero.
The Pfizer-BioNtech bivalent booster is recommended for persons aged 12 years and above while the bivalent Moderna Covid-19 booster is recommended for persons 18 years and above. The bivalent booster shots may only be given after at least 2 months from completion of the last vaccination or booster shot.
Addressing the issue of a temporary shortage of pediatricians at GMH, Dr. Leon Guerrero said while there were only two pediatricians at GMH in June, four more pediatricians have come on board since then.
“At no time during the shortage was there any compromise in care for kids who came in for Covid,” Leon Guerrero said.
He said the two minors who died due to Covid-19 during the period passed away before they reached GMH.
“The ones that did make it to the hospital were well taken care of, including the two-week-old… that child was put in the ICU and since then has been discharged and back to normal health,” Leon Guerrero said.