By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Two Covid clusters identified on Guam, more under investigation
Guam has started hitting a double-digit daily count of Covid-19 cases again as local health authorities identified two Covid-19 clusters traced to separate gatherings in Yigo this month.
And while the island is headed to the May 1 tourism reopening, officials said additional clusters are currently being investigated.
“We are going to continue monitoring the situation,” Gov. Lou Guerrero said at Thursday’s press conference. “We will not hesitate to change our course or shift our posture, depending on any new developments.”
Since Sunday, the Joint Information Center has reported 32 confirmed cases of Covid -19 —13 of which were from Wednesday's tests. Nine additional cases have been detected today. The new numbers broke the infections lull that Guam has seen in almost five months.
Public Health Director Art San Agustin said the first cluster originated from a basketball game in Yigo on April 3. “Players from this game took part in an Easter Sunday gathering at a private residence and then patronizing A-Class Lounge in Upper Tumon,” he said.
The second cluster was traced to an April 17 party in Yigo, which affected workers from The Tsubaki Tower, where five tested positive.
A subsequent contact tracing identified 84 people who may have been exposed to the infected hotel employees. Approximately 961 guests visited The Tsubaki Tower between April 14 and 18.
CLUSTER A – basketball gathering at a Dededo residence on April 3
12 individuals in attendance
8 confirmed positive cases
4 close contacts identified and all tested negative
Connection to Cluster A – Easter gathering at a Yigo residence on April 4
25 reported in attendance
3 positive cases from Cluster A were reported in attendance
14 close contacts were identified and all tested negative
Case investigation is ongoing for 7 close contacts
Connection to Cluster A – A-Class Lounge
One positive case from Cluster A visited A-Class Lounge on April 3
To date, there are a total of 14 positives linked to A-Class Lounge from April 7 and April 10
15 community contacts were identified and all tested negative
CLUSTER B – birthday party at a private residence on April 19
3 individuals attended a birthday party at a private residence on April 19 and tested positive for Covid-19
Connection to Cluster B - All 3 Covid-19 positive cases from Cluster B are employees of Tsubaki Tower
To date, there are a total of 5 Covid-19 positive cases who are employees from Tsubaki Tower, 3 of which are linked to Cluster B
To date, at least 18 close contacts were identified
Case investigation and contact tracing is ongoing for 84 Tsubaki Tower employees identified as “potential” contacts
961 Tsubaki Tower patrons were identified between April 14 – April 18 that are encouraged to get tested for Covid-19
San Agustin urged those who may have had contact with people from these clusters to get tested at the northern health center from 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow.
“It is our intent to keep an eye on the development of these two clusters,” San Agustin said. “These two clusters were indications that, as a community, we need to remind ourselves to remain vigilant as we are not out of the woods yet. The virus has mutated in other places.”
Leon Guerrero said some of the positive cases received their first dose of the vaccine.
“None of them were fully vaccinated,” she added. “It is important to know that these individuals took part in activities that are allowed under public health guidance. However, they, as many of us have let their guard down and put themselves at risk of exposure.”
The governor reminded the community that “a single case can quickly lead to a large cluster and community spread and these clusters a can quickly lead to more hospitalizations and will quickly overwhelm our hospital.”
“It will have a very negative impact on our ability to take care of our people both with Covid and non-Covid cases,” she said.
To date, there have been a total of 7,897 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 136 deaths, 61 cases in active isolation, and 7,700 not in active isolation. The CAR Score is 0.8.
“Our strategy has always been to test, to trace, to tract and to treat. We continue to make tremendous progress to our path to half but we cannot win this alone,” she said.
While she has no plan to reinstate some restrictions that have been eased, the governor appealed to the community to continue practicing the safety measures and get vaccinated.
"That is the only way we can have herd immunity in our community, and that is the only way we can feel safe and protected to reopen our island again, slowly, but surely by taking responsibility for ourselves and doing our duty to each other," the governor said. "We can come through this stronger than we ever were before.”