By Aurora Kohn
Guam is firmly out of the omicron surge, Dr. Ann Pobutsky, Guam's territorial epidemiologist, said during Thursday's weekly briefing on the status of Covid-19.
Pobutsky said Guam’s seven-day rolling average was less than 30 new infections per day. The number of tests given continued to decline and the seven-day average test positivity rate is below 5 percent.
Covid-19 infections in Guam continue to decline across different age groups demonstrating convergence, except for a brief spike in infection rates among the elderly during the first week of April and a recent spike in the 60-74 age group.
Hospitalizations and ICU cases have decreased and deaths occurred “sporadically."
Guam had its 358th fatality on May 8 at the U.S. Naval Hospital. Thirty-two new cases were reported on May 9, out of 998 specimens analyzed. To date, Guam has had 48,401 Covid-19 cases with 358 deaths, 182 cases in active isolation and 47, 861 not in active isolation.
Five Covid-19 patients required hospitalization, one of whom needed ICU care.
Pobutsky said data analysis showed that the number of Guam’s dead-on-arrival cases increased during the delta and omicron surges.
“During the delta surge in 2021, the rate of Covid-related DOA was 37 percent and then during omicron, it was 44 percent. So we did see those spikes in the DOAs," she said. "We now have the numbers to show that this is higher than normal, specifically for the Covid-related deaths."
Pobutsky also said the Guam community was hardest hit during the omicron surge. “Definitely 55 percent plus of our total cases for the pandemic were during omicron," she reported.
The Department of Public Health and Social Services said Guam will continue to see new Covid-19 cases, especially as the virus continues to evolve. However, DPHSS is better equipped to deal with these cases because it has a better understanding of the factors that lead to deaths from the virus.
DPHSS added that most of the deaths that occurred due to Covid-19 were related to co-morbidities and age.
“Bottom line, we still have to push people to get vaccinated and if they’re sick to get tested. We still have DOAs. A lot of that may be preventable deaths if they got the monoclonal antibodies or the antivirals," said Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, DPHSS interim chief medical officer.
Pobutsky noted that most of the DOA patients were unaware that they had Covid-19. A majority of these cases showed that the patients were tested for Covid-19 on the same day they died.
Leon-Guerrero said testing is crucial for people who are older or who have other comorbidities such as diabetes or hypertension. Not getting tested, even after experiencing symptoms, is dangerous, he said.
He advised Guam residents to take advantage of available treatments when they test positive for Covid-19.