3 cases of UK COVID-19 variant identified on Guam

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The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) received the second set of results from virus samples that have been collected on Guam and have undergone genome sequencing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Virus samples were collected between January 2021 and April 2021. To date, a total of 61 SARS-CoV-2 virus samples have been submitted to the CDC for genome sequencing.

DPHSS received the first set of results on March 19 from the CDC, which confirmed seven (7) of 26 samples identified the B.1.429 California Variant.

DPHSS received the second set of results on May 3 from the CDC, which confirmed three (3) of four (4) samples identified the B.1.1.7 Variant from the United Kingdom (U.K.). B.1.1.7 is considered a more highly transmissible variant of SARS-CoV-2. These virus samples came from travelers tested for SARS-CoV-2 at the government of Guam quarantine facility (QFAC).

In accordance with DPHSS protocol, these travelers were isolated in the government isolation facility. All arriving passengers who test positive for COVID-19 in the QFAC are required to be isolated in the government isolation facility. Additionally, all close contacts to these travelers were quarantined at the QFAC for 14 days before being transferred into the community.

Current results do not provide any evidence of the other Variants of Concern on Guam (P.1– Brazil/Japan, B.1.351–South Africa, B.1.427–a California Variant of Concern).

The community is reminded to remain vigilant:

  • Remain home if you are sick. Keep away from others who are sick and limit face-to-face contact with others.

  • Keep a safe distance of 6 feet or more between yourself and others who are outside of your household.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

  • If visiting elderly family members, continue to practice social distancing to protect those you love.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit dphss.guam.gov or guamrecovery.com. For inquiries on COVID-19, contact 311 through a local number, or call the Joint Information Center at (671) 478-0208/09/10.

(JIC Release No. 656)

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