17 COVID-19 cases with variants of concern identified on Guam, including Brazil variant

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The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) on Tuesday received 17 new results from virus samples collected on Guam which have undergone genome sequencing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Virus samples were collected between April 2021 and May 2021. To date, a total of 138 SARS-CoV-2 virus samples have been submitted to the CDC for genome sequencing.

DPHSS received the fifth set of results from the CDC on June 15. All seventeen (17) samples received were identified with Variants of Concern (VOC).

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The breakdown is as follows: fifteen (15) were identified as B.1.1.7 or the U.K. variant, one (1) was identified as the B.1.351 or the South African variant, and one (1) was identified as the P.1 or the Brazil/Japan variant.

The P.1 or the Brazil/Japan variant significantly reduces susceptibility to combination monoclonal antibody treatment, but other EUA monoclonal antibody treatments are available. The P.1 variant also has the potential for reduced neutralization by convalescent and post-vaccination or previous COVID-19 infections.

Of the seventeen (17) samples confirmed as VOCs, three (3) were travel-related cases and fourteen (14) had no known travel history. The three (3) travel-related cases were identified in the government of Guam quarantine facility (QFAC). No close contacts to the three travel-related cases were identified.

DPHSS previously reported Variants of Concern from results from the CDC, which identified the following:

= twenty-three (23) cases identified with the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant

= eight (8) case identified with the B.1.429 California variant

= two (2) case identified with the B.1.351 South African variant

= one (1) cases identified with the B.1.617.2 Delta variant

Current results do not provide any evidence of the other Variants of Concern on Guam (B.1.427–a California Variant of Concern). DPHSS continues to send samples to the CDC for genome sequencing.

The community is reminded to remain vigilant:

Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance.

Get vaccinated. Visit dphss.guam.gov/vaccinategu for a complete vaccination schedule.

Stay home if you are sick, keep away from others who are sick.

Keep a safe distance of at least 6 feet from others who are not in your household.

Practice social distancing around elderly family members.

(JIC Release No. 699)

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