DPHSS: No evidence yet that COVID positive airmen infected others at local businesses

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The case of the Andersen 35 has been a good test of GovGuam’s disease prevention efforts, according to Public Health’s Chief Medical Officer and the Administrator for the Bureau of Disease Control.

Both public health officials believe it proves the island’s COVID prevention measures are working and we’re ready to welcome visitors next week when Guam reopens to tourism.

Dr. Janna Manglona is Medical Director at the Department of Guam Public Health. She believes that the case of the COVID-19 airmen has been a good lesson for the island and proof that the prevention measures in place to prevent the spread of the disease are working.

“It happened. 35 people were out there and were deemed to be positive. We haven’t had any obvious case that’s connected to them since that happened,” Manglona said.

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She said the evidence at this time seems to indicate that the one COVID positive case at the Reef Hotel was not the result of contact with the airmen who stayed there, but contact that the person had outside of their employment at the Reef.

She added: “You’ve got to imagine somebody should have popped up…with 35 positive cases on a small island and not limiting where they went” But it hasn’t, she said.

The airmen are members of the Air National Guard. They were deployed to Andersen Air Force Base on May 25. They didn’t all come from one location on the mainland, they came from various locations around the states, according to Dr. Manglona.
35 of them eventually tested positive for COVID 19. The first case was confirmed about 17 days after their arrival

The airmen were booked into the Reef Hotel under restricted movement orders, leaving the hotel to visit various restaurants and business even before their 14-day quarantine was up.

Bureau of Disease control Administrator Annette Aguon and her team have been tracking where they went.

“How did we find out they didn’t remain in quarantine during those initial 14 days? It was through our military partners at Andersen … if these are the two locations you’re supposed to go to,” Aguon said.

Manglona said: “Your cutting 17 day, 14 day. 17 day was the test date. When did the patient actually become symptomatic? So that was actually if you look at June 8th or 9th …you got some out here, you got some out here.”

The National Guard Airmen who admitted to violating quarantine told their Air Force superiors where they went and the air force passed on the names of the places the airmen visited to Public Health.

“Yes, there was a delay … just to be clear on that point,” Aguon said.

On Wednesday night, public health released the names of the 30 establishments and advised anyone who went to these places to monitor their health closely.

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