COVID hospitalizations continue to increase

Guam Memorial Hospital
Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

Guam Memorial Hospital is seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations as COVID-19 continues its spread on the island.

As of Friday morning, GMH had 52 in-patients for COVID-related treatment, ranging in age from as young as 20s and into the 80s.

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Lillian Perez-Posadas, GMH administrator, said: “Across all kinds of ethnicities, across all kinds of underlying health conditions. Like I said, this virus does not discriminate.”

The GMH administrator says after dipping to hospitalizations in the 20s, they’ve seen the number creep back up, hitting the 50s again today. The highest they’ve been is hovering around the 60-mark.

She says the rise in hospitalizations is to be expected with continuously increasing new COVID cases.

“You know with that number still kind of high, we anticipate that anywhere between 10-20% will eventually come into the hospital with symptoms. And so, that’s what we’re seeing … these individuals coming in with symptoms,” Perez-Posadas said.

There’s also been a more morbid number on the rise — the number of deaths.

Perez-Posadas says with the vulnerability that having underlying health issues causes, that’s also not surprising.

“And then there are those people who just wait for a longer period to get seen and get treated. So when they wait that delay really continues to exacerbate their health condition, to the point that when they’re finally coming into the hospital they’re either close to death or their condition is so severe it takes a while for their system to respond to therapy… sometimes to the point where it’s beyond saving,” Perez-Posadas said.

And as we’ve been hearing over and over, having a comorbidity is a major factor in the survival rates.

“Diabetes is one that’s pretty common. High blood pressure, end-stage renal disease, even those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease…those are the ones that we see quite a bit,” she said.

But Perez-Posadas says some have overcome the virus nonetheless.

“Early on in the first wave, there was a female individual who was in her 80s. She had a history of kidney issues. But she survived and she went home,” she said.

Perez-Posadas says several factors play into that survival including the person’s own ability to fight off the virus, the load of the virus itself, and how soon one gets treatment.