Expanded COVID-19 testing program to be launched Saturday

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Governor Lou Leon Guerrero this morning announced that all but one of the requirements needed to lift social distancing restrictions have been met.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero this morning announced that the program of expanded testing for COVID-19 will be launched on Saturday.

In her daily FaceBook post on the COVID-19 crisis the Governor said it would be a “pilot” program launch in order to “test the process and procedures.”

Only one location will be open initially and that site will likely be in the Astumbo area of Dededo.

The Governor said she has been in contact with Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares and they are working on identifying an exact location.

If all goes well, other locations around the island will be opened up as well.

The COVID-19 testing will be available to those who have mild symptoms to moderate symptoms,” said the Governor. Those seeking testing must have a referral from their doctor.

“We are asking people … to call their doctor and their doctor then will refer them,” she said.

Flattening the curve

The Governor began her remarks by highlighting the latest test results from the Department of Public Health which once again reported no positive cases of COVID 19 were found on Monday. 15 tests were conducted.

She said 114 people have now recovered from the disease leaving just 17 active cases on island which gives us a roughly 84% recover rate, said the Governor.  “We’re still running about a 13 to 14% infection rate, and we want to increase that even more.”

“We have been flattening the curve,” said the Governor. She said that is “good news that points to … plans now to start going into Phase 1 of our recovery.”

The Governor’s panel of recovery advisors expects to finalize a recovery plan by Friday.

However, there are a few key criteria that must be met before restrictions are lifted, said the Governor.

  1. A 14 day period of low to no positive cases of COVID-19.

The Governor did not say whether we have reached that 14 day period.

  1. Sufficient bed capacity at the hospital to handle a second wave of infections.

“We do have capacity at the hospital to address potential surges in the future,” she said.

  1. Sufficient testing capacity.

There are 6 testing machines on island now, said the Governor.

“If all of them are up and running and there were no issues with test kits or supplies,” the Governor said “we would be way above the 258 per day tests that are needed to lift restrictions.”