Governor details new vaccination, quarantine, and face mask policies

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC video capture)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero held a news conference Friday expounding on her new expanded vaccination eligibility policy, the new quarantine exemption rule, and her continuing face mask policy.

First, she disclosed that the six confirmed positive with the COVID-19 variants of concern were not fully immunized.

The governor then touched on the expansion of the vaccination eligibility to persons 12 years old and above. She said that within hours of the announcement, the University of Guam already administered 70 Pfizer shots to youths in that age group.

On the amended quarantine program for incoming travelers, the governor said she remains confident in the efficacy of FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines, which is why travelers with verified vaccinations will be exempted from government quarantine effective 12:01 am on Saturday, May 15.

“To elaborate on the vaccination verification process, my office and our partners in this pandemic are ready to stand up support systems to ensure those seeking their verification documentation can do so,” Leon Guerrero said.

She stressed that a person has to be fully vaccinated in order to avail of the quarantine exemption, which means two weeks after their last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is to ensure that the immune system has had enough time to develop the antibodies against the virus. Additionally, my executive order increases the social gathering limit. Effective Saturday, May 15 social gatherings and congregations shall be limited to no more than 100 persons,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor also commented on the CDC’s announcement to allow fully vaccinated individuals to participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or social distancing.

“Despite this CDC guidance, we know all too well our situation on Guam as being isolated in the Pacific. We do not share some of the same luxuries as our national counterparts who may drive to the next hospital in a neighboring state for assistance,” the governor pointed out.

She added: “Throughout our COVID-19 response, our priority has been protecting our people and our fragile health care system.”

The governor also reported that Guam Memorial Hospital currently has five COVID-19 patients, one of whom is in the ICU and on a ventilator

This prompted her to warn that should the number of hospitalized individuals increase, she is prepared to re-implement restrictions.

“Again, this is a fluid situation, and we will adapt as needed to safeguard our community. That is why I continue to urge the people of Guam to wear your mask. Now’s not the time to let our guard down,” Leon Guerrero said.