Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said Wednesday afternoon that while the arrival of the first COVID vaccine shipment to Guam is good news, the war against the pandemic is still not over and we should not let our guard down.
In a news conference, the governor pointed out that the vaccine is just one tool against COVID and that existing mitigation measures must continue.
“The vaccine does not mean the pandemic is over. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but our mitigation actions remain as important as ever. We cannot become complacent. Wear your mask. Watch your distance, wash your hands,” Leon Guerrero said.
Although the governor this week eased some of the COVID restrictions, she doesn’t expect to lift the emergency declaration when it expires this month.
“I don’t anticipate that because we’re still in a health emergency situation. In fact, I want to emphasize that although our CAR scores are low and we have the vaccines now, we still need to continue on with our public health preventive measures. The vaccine is not going to remove the virus. The vaccine is only going to allow us to be a little bit protected. But we need to reinforce that protection by continuously wearing our mask and doing those directives and preventive public health mitigation efforts,” Leon Guerrero said.
She added: “And so I will not lift the public health emergency by the end of this month and we will probably continue to be on PCOR1. We might also be able to lift other restrictions, but we will probably be continuing on with PCOR1 and one of the reasons for that is we really want to monitor, we really want to make sure that our hospitalization is stabilized.”
Even with the vaccine available to Guam, the governor said she doesn’t want “to take her eye out of the ball” with regard to COVID monitoring.
“The vaccine is one of the tools. But it is not the only tool. We still need to watch our community spreads. We still need to do our mass testing and we still need to go on with our surveillance and the monitoring of our data collection and so forth. So nothing is going to change in that area,” Leon Guerrero said.
She added: “But I’m very encouraged with this hope for our future and that we can return back to normal. And we can’t get there without, again, the continued support of our community. And the continued diligence and commitment of our community.”