Covid Omicron Variant BA.5 Found on Island

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Department of Public Health and Social Services (PNC file photo)

The COVID Omicron variant, BA.5 is on the island.

With the presence of the BA.5 variant – some parents have raised concerns about student safety – as students return to back to school, with full face-to-face instruction along with optional mask wearing.

Reporting on Public Health’s stance on back to school is PNC’s Devin Eligio…

Territorial Epidemiologist Dr. Ann Pobutsky says that the BA5 COVID variant has reached the island and with Guam’s Public Schools packing classrooms with pre-pandemic numbers, concerns about student safety amidst the ongoing rise in COVID cases were raised to Public Health officials.

Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, Interim Medical Officer stated, “Similar to the case with the flu, kids don’t usually get it as bad but they help spread it.”

According to Dr. Leon Guerrero, Public Health will be giving recommendations to the Guam Department of Education on how to go about the school year safely.

He added, “The main issue with school kids is, again, most children are either asymptomatic cases or mild cases. It’s just that when they get it at the schools, they can then spread it at home.”

He said that his recommendations to GDOE will be the same as they always were: to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

Leon Guerrero also teased the possibility of setting up COVID vaccinations at the schools this school year during school hours should parents want to have their children vaccinated.

He said, “Last year it was done after school and in some places, it was well attended and in other schools, it was like, hardly any kids could stay.”

With the steady rise in cases, and with classes islandwide back in session, Public Health reminds the community of their special vaccination clinic only.

The clinic is for children 6 months old to 11 years old this Saturday, August 13th, from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Agana Shopping Center.

Parents and legal guardians must have a government-issued photo ID and must provide their child’s birth certificate.

All minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and guardians must present legal guardianship or power-of-attorney documents.

Reporting for the Pacific News Center,
I’m Devin Eligio