Home quarantine option denied to residents returning from ‘hot spots’

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Executive Order 2020-20

The latest executive order signed Friday by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero will allow authorities to place island residents returning from a COVID-19 “hot spots” into quarantine at a GovGuam facility, denying them the recently announced option of home quarantine.

Executive Order 2020-20 qualifies the easing of quarantine restrictions announced May 30 which gave returning Guam residents, regardless of where they came from, the option of spending their 14-day quarantine at home.

That option may now be denied under EO 2020-20 if the Guam resident is flying back in from the Philippines or another area deemed to be a “hot spot” for Covid-19 infections.

DPHSS Guidance Memo 2020-11

DPHSS Guidance Memo 2020-11 issued on May 30, stated “Current residents of Guam … may be allowed to complete the 14-day quarantine requirement at their home residence or rented lodging location.”

However Executive Order 2020-20 qualifies that option by stating that “quarantine will be administered in accordance with applicable Public Health Guidance, which may include a requirement that individuals arriving from designated “hotspots” be quarantined at a government qualified facility.”

A “Hot Spot” is defined as a country or location with COVID-19 case doubling rate less than every 30 days, according to JIC #165.

JIC #165

JIC #165 states – “ALL persons having originated from or traveled through international locations deemed to be “hot spots” shall be subject to a 14-day quarantine at a GovGuam qualified quarantine facility.”

Some considerations will be given to returning residents for alternate quarantine locations “in certain limited circumstances, where medical or other particular concerns” warrant it.

JIC #165 also states that obtaining proof of a negative test result before arrival will not alter the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement at a GovGuam facility if you are coming from a hot spot.

Why the change?

Executive Order 2020-20 indicates that the hot-spot qualification was issued on the advice of the Governor’s physician advisors out of concern over a possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections when schools re-open.

“After reviewing data provided by DPHSS, the Guam State Surgeon Cell, and my Physicians Advisory Group” states EO 2020-20 “it is apparent that a significant threat to our continued downward trend in positivity rates is an influx of travelers from regions where cases continue to increase.”

In order to avoid that threat the order states that “it is imperative that safeguards be implemented with regard to inbound travelers to protect against a surge in COVID-19.”

The Department of Public Health is then authorized to develop those safeguards “on a limited basis” to “permit the opening of smaller schools for the purpose of testing a pilot program,” that will “inform the development of procedures and guidelines for the opening of additional schools.”

READ the explanation of EO 2020-20 in JIC #163 below:

JIC #163

Executive Order No. 2020-20 

Today, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signed Executive Order (EO) No. 2020-20 relative to
setting conditions for entry into Guam, permitting limited school operations, and clarification on the occupancy limit. 

EO 2020-20 allows for DPHSS to implement quarantine protocols regarding the conditions for entry into Guam. 

All persons entering Guam will be subject to quarantine, and such quarantine will be administered in accordance with applicable Public Health Guidance. Public Health Guidance may include a requirement that individuals arriving from designated “hotspots”, as defined by DPHSS, be quarantined at a government qualified facility. 

Under EO 2020-20, DPHSS may permit the opening of smaller schools for the purpose of testing a pilot program designed to inform the development of procedures and guidelines for the opening of additional schools throughout the island. 

DPHSS will adopt guidelines for the pilot program, which will include input from the Guam State Surgeon Cell of the Guam National Guard and the Governor’s Physicians Advisory Group. 

Outside of this pilot program, public and private schools on Guam serving prekindergarten through 12th grade students will remain closed for educational purposes through the end of the public health emergency. 

The EO also clarifies the occupancy limit for businesses and activities permitted to operate under Pandemic Condition of Readiness (PCOR) 2. Any place of business, place of worship, or public accommodation as permitted under applicable Public Health Guidance may resume operations provided it does so at no more than 50% capacity or up to 10 people, whichever is greater .