JIC #27: Help slow the spread; GDOL seeks federal assistance for unemployment

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Joint Information Center – JIC Release No. 27 – March 23, 2020, 6:15 p.m. (ChST): As of March 22, 2020, there were 27 positive cases of COVID-19 on Guam with one (1) COVID-19 related death. There will be additional results later this evening once today’s test results are finalized.

Slow the Spread, Flatten the Curve 

In a news conference today, Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Felix Cabrera of the Governor’s Physician’s Advisory Group, who also specializes in medical technology, presented information on Guam’s estimated trajectory for COVID-19 cases and its impact on hospitalized patients. The data collected compares Guam’s COVID-19 cases with other countries as well as the trajectory of cases based on comparable rates of spread.

If the Government of Guam had not taken decisive actions and steps to mitigate the spread of the virus, the daily spread rate of COVID-19 would have been at 200 percent, which is the natural infection rate of the virus, according to the World Health Organization Report. Because of the combined efforts of the Government, healthcare community, and the public-at-large, the current daily spread rate is tracking at 33 percent, similar to other countries. But these efforts are not enough. Unless Guam’s rate of spread is cut in half to 16.5% now, the island’s healthcare system will reach a breaking point, according to Dr. Cabrera.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero is urging the community to help flatten the curve. Everyone can be a hero and play a part in reducing the rate of spread by half through frequent hand washing, covering their cough, staying home, and sanitizing their surroundings.

Additional Guidance, Public Parks and Beaches Close 

During today’s news conference, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero advised that she will be extending the Public Health Emergency for the island, an additional 14-days beyond March 30, 2020. This will include an additional Executive Order, with further guidance. The current Executive Order 2020-05, calling for the shutdown of non-essential businesses and mandating social isolation still stands. For now, Governor Leon Guerrero included the mandate that all public beaches and parks be closed, effective immediately.

Stop the Spread: Stay Home, Keep a Minimum of Six Feet Between You and Others

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Stop the spread:

  • Stay home. Keep away from others who are sick and limit face-to-face contact with others.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

  • Limit visitation to elderly family members, except for caregivers or healers.

  • Avoid gathering at social events, supermarkets, or bingo facilities.

DOL Seeks Federal Support for Unemployment Benefits 

The Guam Department of Labor (DOL) is working to submit an application for the Disaster Dislocated Worker grant in an effort to maximize Guam’s eligibility for federal assistance to receive COVID-19 related unemployment benefits. The federally funded grant, if awarded, could potentially provide eligible participants with both disaster relief employment and employment and training activities.

In an effort to get the needed information to identify those in the community that have been impacted, the community is advised if they receive any calls from employees or employers for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, to send the following information to DOL via email at rapidresponse@dol.guam.gov.

For individual employees:

  1. Name of employer that issued the furlough or layoff

For business owners or managers:

  1. Employer name and location

  2. Number of employees laid off or are anticipated to be laid off

  3. Anticipated date and length of layoffs (e.g. 1 to 2 weeks, 3 to 4 weeks, or unknown at this time)

  4. Number of employees with reduced work hours or anticipated number of employees with reduced work hours

  5. When hours were reduced or anticipated date to implement reduced hours

  6. Specifics on reduced work week imposed (e.g. reduce to 32 hours per week, 20 hours per week, 10 hours per week, or unknown at this time)

  7. Duration of reduced hours (e.g. 1 to 2 weeks, 3 to 4 weeks, or unknown at this time)

For media inquiries, contact the Joint Information Center at (671) 478-0208/09/10 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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