JIC #35: 4 new COVID-19 cases; total now 55

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The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) tested 18 individuals for COVID-19 on Saturday, March 28, 2020 with conclusive results. Four (4) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 14 tested negative for SARS-CoV-2.

A total of 366 tests were performed from March 12, 2020 through March 28, 2020 with conclusive results. To date, a total of 55 cases tested positive and 277 cases tested negative for COVID-19 with seven patients who have recovered and one death. The test breakdown is as follows:

    Tested by DPHSS Guam Public Health Lab (GPHL)

  Tested by the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC)

Total

                          53

                    2

    55

All 47 remaining cases tested by the DPHSS GPHL and NHRC are in isolation.

Profiles of Earlier Confirmed Cases

Most of Guam COVID-19 known positive cases have epidemiological links to other confirmed cases. Profiles of the previous 49 confirmed cases, not including confirmed cases from today:

  • Status:

    • 28 in stable condition

    • 15 hospitalized

    • 7 recovered

    • 1 deceased

  • Gender:

    • 20 male

    • 31 female

  • Residential Location:

    • 15 from the north

    • 21 from central

    • 9 from the south

    • 6 still under investigation for place of residence

  • Travel History:

    • 1- Japan

    • 7 – Philippines

    • 2 – U.S. Mainland

  • Age Groups:

    • 1 is in their 90s

    • 3 are in their 80s

    • 5 are in their 70s

    • 15 are in their 60s

    • 9 are in their 50s

    • 9 are in their 40s

    • 5 are in their 30s

    • 4 are in their 20s

Patient Recovery Update

Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, DPHSS has declared seven of Guam’s confirmed COVID-19 patients as recovered. This means they are no longer considered infectious. According to CDC research and published guidelines, a patient is classified as recovered after at least 72 hours have passed without fever or additional respiratory issues and at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared. All seven of Guam’s patients who recovered were in home isolation and did not require hospitalization.

DPHSS works closely with each confirmed patient and actively monitors each patients’ progress and adherence to the isolation requirements. DPHSS will continue routine follow-ups to check on the status of the individuals. All seven of the recovered patients were instructed to continue to maintain proper social distancing in accordance with Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s social distancing mandates.

Executive Order No. 2020-07

Today, Governor Leon Guerrero signed Executive Order No. 2020-07 relative to extending the closure of non-essential businesses and facilities to April 13, establishing a moratorium on evictions, clarifying price gouging prohibitions, and providing for telephonic participation in public meetings. EO 2020-07 also requires employers who have reduced their workforce through employee terminations, layoffs, furloughs, or reduction in hours to report this data to the Guam Department of Labor. DPHSS has released further guidance for EO 2020-07.

EO Compliance Hotline Numbers

The DPHSS, Department of Revenue and Taxation, and the Guam Police Department are enforcing compliance with Executive Orders No. 2020-05 and No. 2020-06. The public can report violators of EO 2020-07 anonymously to the following hotline numbers between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday:

  • (671) 475-9473

  • (671) 475-4770

Presidential Disaster Declaration Approved

On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Governor Leon Guerrero submitted a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Guam in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The request was based on the direct, detrimental economic impact of the COVID-19 events beginning February 2020 to present. On March 27, 2020, President Trump approved the request for Public Assistance, Category B, Emergency Protective Measures. Still under review are the requests for Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation.

Information for Food Stakeholders and Consumers

DPHSS announces that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided, and continues to provide, information related to COVID-19 and food production and safety:

  • There is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and is not linked to the exposure of food or food packaging.

  • The FDA does not anticipate food products to be recalled should a food employee be confirmed to have COVID-19. If a food employee was found to be positive, the focus should be to prevent the spread of person-to-person contact at the food establishment.

  • There are no nationwide shortages of food. Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the U.S., and there are currently no widespread disruptions reported in the supply chain. The FDA is working closely with the grocery industry and federal and state partners to monitor the food supply chain for any shortages. Thus, the hoarding of food is not necessary.

  • The FDA recommends the following precautions that food establishments may take at this time

  1. Frequent handwashing and glove changing.

  2. Frequent washing and sanitizing of food contact surfaces.

  3. Frequent sanitizing of counters and tabletops.

  4. Implement social distancing measures.

  5. Discontinuing self-service operations and salad bars until social distancing measures are lifted.

  6. If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, the employer should inform their local health department immediately for guidance and redouble cleaning and sanitizing of food-contact and non-food-contact surfaces at their establishments.

In addition, the DPHSS reminds food establishments that they must ensure requirements established in the Guam Food Code and any other applicable regulations are being followed.  DPHSS also reminds the public and the industry to practice social distancing of at least six feet and institute frequent and proper handwashing.

To report any potential food safety violations, contact the DPHSS Division of Environmental Health at 300-9579, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DPHSS Extends Health Certification Expiration Date

The DPHSS Division of Environmental Health is preparing for the re-opening of the Processing Center Section (PCS) for the issuance of Health Certificates. While the section remains closed, DPHSS is extending the validity of existing Health Certificates that have expired from March 16, 2020 to April 13, 2020 until further notice.

Additionally, Refresher and Interim Food Safety Health Certificate Training Courses, which were scheduled from March 16, 2020 to April 13, 2020, will be rescheduled to another date with no additional fees. As a reminder, employers with employees who possess an Interim-New Health Certificate are to be overseen by a manager or supervisor with a Manager’s Certification to ensure these employees are given supervision in food safety practices while at work.

For questions about your Health Certificate or scheduled training courses, contact the DPHSS Division of Environmental Health at 300-9568.

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