Governor Lou Leon Guerrero addressed the Guam Medical Association Thursday night, asking doctors in the room to work with the government, and not against it, in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
The governor gave a state of the island’s healthcare address to the GMA and while she briefly touched on other healthcare topics, the big subject of the night was the coronavirus.
In her speech, the governor said the real pandemic created by COVID-19 is fear and she’s calling on island doctors to be a steady voice.
“I ask that we be calm and cautious. We need to balance the knowledge we have and what we can do to allay the fears of our community. You are the medical, scientific professionals. Your patients depend on you, they rely on your information. I ask that you guide them with accurate facts and information,” Leon Guerrero said.
The governor’s plea comes after open criticism by some island doctors who have questioned GovGuam’s planning for the coronavirus response.
Dr. Tom Shieh, GMA President, said: “I think what should have been done, from the very beginning, is to get the community doctors and clinics involved, from the very beginning. The first press release that came out from Public Health, they included community critical stakeholders. Well, that critical stakeholder [list], excluded the entire medical community. The private clinics were not even included at the table. The GVB was…and you know that’s important because the GVB is tourism. But I always tell the GVB you have to be careful what you do because healthcare is at the center of tourism.”
He added that the medical community is thankful that the governor addressed them last night. But Shieh also commented on some of the governor’s points, saying doctors are not instilling fear, they’re simply doing their jobs
In her speech, the governor also referenced statistics, like the coronavirus mortality rate is lower than that of SARS and the fact that only 5% of COVID-19 cases are actually critical.
The governor also said she welcomes the federal government’s $8 billion in coronavirus emergency funding and plans to take advantage of this funding for Guam.
The governor again touched on the coronavirus being both a health and an economic threat, adding that she’s exploring ways to support our business community.
The governor says military spending will also help Guam get through this slump.
Once again, the governor reiterated that there are no coronavirus cases on island.