32 GMH staffers tested positive for COVID-19 in the past month

Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

A total of 32 staffers from the Guam Memorial Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19 in the last month, Krystal J. Paco, the governor’s press secretary, informed PNC.

This confirms some posts circulating in social media that a number of GMH personnel had contracted the virus but hasn’t been reported by the government yet.

Dr. Felix Cabrera, a member of the governor’s physicians advisory group, said one factor that has hampered their abilities overall is that a number of the frontline workers have already become ill because of the virus.

He said this is the reason why they put in a request with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for more personnel and equipment, including nurses, hospital intensivist doctors, and respiratory therapists.

FEMA has already approved Guam request for assistance and the first batch of 21 DoD medical personnel are on the way.

The Region 9 coordinator, Jonathan Bartlett with the Department of Health & Human Services, arrived Monday night to serve as a technical advisor.

If needed, Cabrera said a second batch of off-island medical personnel can be sent to Guam under Phase 2 of the program. If this happens, the total off-island medical personnel helping Guam can reach up to 40.

Since the arriving medical personnel do not have licenses to practice on Guam, Cabrera said they will be given emergency licensing and privileging.

Although the off-island medical personnel can technically help out in all of the island’s hospitals, Cabrera said GMH is the priority and gets to have the first dibs because GMH is the designated COVID hospital.

“But logistically, it may make more sense in some scenarios where they actually work at GRMC in order to offload the pressure from GMH. So those decisions will be made more in real-time, I think, as it gets closer,” Cabrera said.