‘Guam health care system at risk’; hospitalizations may reach 100 by next week

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Guam Memorial Hospital
Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and her health advisers painted a grim picture of the island’s COVID situation during a press conference Thursday afternoon, including the possibility of hospitalizations reaching more than 100 by the end of next week.

The governor said that because of the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases, the Department of Public Health and Social Services decided on an “intervention” and deployed the rapid engagement team to areas that have been identified as the most at risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Dr. Felix Cabrera, a member of the governor’s health team, provided charts and data about COVID-19 on Guam and the island’s current situation.

Using a “surfing” analogy, Dr. Cabrera said that Guam is now in the middle of two waves.

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“Basically, we never really got over the first wave and now a second wave is right upon us. Back in March, the waves that we had were quite small compared to what we’ve been going through recently. And we’ve had this one big wave and then we’re now in the middle of another one without even dropping back down to normal,” Cabrera said.

The doctor stressed that controlling COVID-19 on Guam is very important, perhaps much more so than in other places, because of the island’s limited and fragile health infrastructure.

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“It’s because basically our entire health care system is at risk and keeping afloat our two main hospitals on the island — GMH and GRMC — have been quite a challenge,” Cabrera said.

Using forecasting models, Cabrera said it is possible that hospitalizations could reach triple digits, or 100, by the end of next week.

As of 8 am Thursday, Guam already has 67 admitted patients with COVID-19 in all three hospitals — GMH, GRMC, and Naval Hospital Guam combined.

Right now, Cabrera said Guam has a positivity rate 7-day rolling average of 14 percent.

“That’s quite high. It’s the highest we’ve been in recent times,” the doctor said.

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