Although Guam has rolled out its Covid-19 vaccination program, tourism is not likely to reopen till the first quarter of 2021, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.
“In lifting restrictions, we look at science and data collected with our testing and metrics, hospitalization, CAR score, positivity rate and new cases coming up,” the governor said at a press conference Wednesday.
“We have been working with the Guam Visitors Bureau and the Guam airport to be prepared when we make that decision,” she said.
Leon Guerrero said reopening will be held off until the community is assured of low numbers are maintained and the coronavirus is contained.
“This will give us more protection,” she added.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention categorizes Guam as a level-4 high risk destination.
On Wednesday, the Joint Information Center reported 19 new Covid cases out of 319 tests done on Tuesday. Two cases were identified through contact tracing. Three cases reported recent travel history and were identified in quarantine.
To date, there have been a total of 7,168 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 119 deaths, 536 cases in active isolation and 6,513 not in active isolation. Hospitalizations have stabilized with 28 currently in admission.
The first phase of vaccination begins today at Okkodo Elementary School.
“As we position ourselves for the distribution of these vaccines, I know many of you are asking, ‘what’s next?” the governor said. “Based on our CAR score and as the first vaccine is administered, we will be looking into the potential reopening of schools.”
Leon Guerrero said Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio and the Department of Public Health and Social Services are coordinating with the Guam Department of Education to ensure schools reopen for students “as safely and as efficiently as possible.”
However, the governor is not inclined to lift the public health emergency declaration anytime soon.
“We are still in an emergency situation,” she said. “Although we will be vaccinated, we still need to continue on with our preventive measures. The vaccine will not remove the virus; it will only allow us to be a little bit protected.”