On Guam, 2 new Covid cases; health department hires more nurses

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HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Two more people have tested positive for Covid-19. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to 312 since the Department of Public Health and Social Services started testing in March.

As of the latest Public Health report, dated July 10, Guamanians in their 20s had the largest number of cases at 56. That age group was closely followed by people in their 30s and 40s.

Territorial Epidemiologist Dr. Ann Pobutsky and Dr. Felix Cabrera have said the increase in community testing and lifting of restrictions are factors in the recent increases in Covid-19 cases.

Pobutsky and Cabrera, along with the governor, continued to urge residents to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Pobutsky noted these practices are particularly important as the economy and local establishments reopen, "which both increase the chance of viral spread."

More nurses

There's been no additional mass community testing scheduled as of Saturday. However, Grace Bordallo, DPHSS Covid-19 incident public information officer, said that may change, "depending on what comes from continued contact tracing."

The one in Mangilao was scheduled after a contact tracing investigation into Air Force service members found they visited a number of businesses in the island's central region.

And the community outreach at the Astumbo Gym was scheduled after an employee of the Guam Department of Education's Grab-N-Go food distribution program in Dededo tested positive.

"We were behind in contacting people so we're trying to finish up those phone calls," Bordallo said, adding that people with positive "cases will be contacted immediately because we have to start contact tracing."

Bordallo said there have been more nurses hired by DPHSS who started this past week. They were brought on to assist with the Covid-19 response, she said. She couldn't immediately say how many were hired.


Residents wait in line on Wednesday to get tested at the Astumbo Gym in Dededo, Guam as a nurse collects data. Photo by Haruo Simion/The Guam Daily Post

Active cases: 105

One case was confirmed by Diagnostic Laboratory Services. One case was confirmed by the Department of Defense, which also noted the individual reported recent travel to the continental United States and was in contact with a confirmed case while there.

DPHSS had also conducted tests on 111 individuals on Friday. All of those tests returned negative. Thus far, more than 16,970 tests have been conducted by DPHSS and its government, military and private partners. With the current total of confirmed cases, the rate of positive cases is still within what government official said is an acceptable rate.

To date, there have been a total of 312 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with five deaths, and 202 people released from isolation.

Guam has 105 active cases.

Of the total confirmed cases, 266 people are civilians and 46 are military service members.

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