The latest executive order signed Friday by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero requires that island residents returning to Guam from a COVID-19 “hot spot” be quarantined at a GovGuam facility, denying them the recently announced option of home quarantine.
During a briefing for reporters from the Governor’s Office this afternoon, Dr. Felix Cabrera of the physicians’ advisory group acknowledged the tightening of quarantine procedures.
The immediate goal, he said, is getting Guam residents back home safely but in a manner that is safe for the rest of the island as well.
“If you’re coming from a hot-spot area, right now, to date, that’s the Philippines for example, it doesn’t matter if you’re a resident or a non-resident, everybody is going to end up quarantining at a government of Guam approved quarantine facility,” Dr. Cabrera said.
Guam residents coming from a low risk, non-hot spot country will still be allowed to quarantine at home and travelers from those non-hotspot countries can spend 14 days in the pre-arranged lodging.
“Hot-spots are defined as countries with case doubling rates that are less than every 30 days. So, if you have 50 cases of COVID-19 and it takes you 2 days to get to 100 cases then that’s 2 days that it took to double. So, as you can see, that’s a pretty fast spread over-all,” Dr. Cabrera said.
No testing will be required for passengers coming from either hot-spot or low-risk countries. Whether the traveler is just a visitor or a returning resident of Guam, they do not have to be tested before arrival and they won’t be tested after their 14-day quarantine either.
“The reality is that when it comes to testing, it’s just too dynamic and there are just too many variables that don’t assure of the main outcomes that we’re trying to get from testing to begin with. If somebody tests too early, they may actually have coronavirus, but it won’t show up on the test, but they could still potentially bring it into Guam,” Dr. Cabrera said.
The bottom line is that in all cases, at least for the next few weeks, all arriving passengers will be subject to quarantine in a GovGuam facility, a hotel, or their own homes.
The only thing that is a sure safety net and has proven to work is quarantine itself. We’ve made the concession that we needed to rely more on quarantine overall at least for the next few weeks as we allow new international arrivals to come to Guam,” the doctor said.
Over the weekend more than 330 people were tested for COVID-19 and no one was found to be positive for the disease.
So despite the tightening of quarantine restrictions now, we’re on track for less restrictive mandates next month if PCOR-3 is declared.
“Are we on track for a move to PCOR-3 by July first? Based on our criteria right now looking at the testing we definitely are on track. There is no doubt about that,” Cabrera said.
If that remains unchanged, come July first, if not earlier, the plan is to lift the 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors from low-risk, non-hotspot countries like South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, and no testing before boarding, or on arrival will be required.