New COVID clusters identified; governor concerned

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC screen capture)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero expressed concern Thursday with the latest spike in COVID-19 cases, confirming that new COVID clusters have been identified and that since Sunday, there have been 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases.

And tonight, the governor said the Joint Information Center will announce 12 additional cases.

“We are now at a CAR score of 0.8. That is still low, but for me that is a big concern because in just a few days we went from 0.2 to 0.8,” Leon Guerrero said during a news conference.

According to the governor, only three of those cases were identified through contact tracing and none were from the quarantine.

In addition, some of the positive cases received their first dose of the vaccine and none of them were fully vaccinated.

Through contact tracing by Public Health, two COVID clusters have been identified. The first was a basketball gathering at a Dededo residence on April 3 that led to an Easter gathering at a Yigo residence on April 4 and a gathering at the A-Class karaoke lounge in Upper Tumon.

The second cluster was a birthday party at a private residence on April 19 where three tested positive for COVID-19. All three COVID-19 positive cases are employees of Tsubaki Tower which led to the temporary closure of two restaurants in that hotel.

“It is important to know that these individuals took part in activities that are allowed under Public Health guidance. However, they, as many of us do, let their guard down and put themselves at risk for COVID-19 transmission. We need to remember that a single case can quickly lead to a large cluster, and to community spread,” Leon Guerrero said.

The DPHSS Northern Region Community Health Center will offer free COVID-19 testing to staff and patrons of A-Class Lounge and The Tsubaki Tower on Friday, April 23, and Saturday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Staff and patrons who were at the A-Class Lounge on or after April 7 and staff and guests who were at The Tsubaki Tower between April 14 – 18 are urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested.

“Path to Half”

According to the governor, the “Path to Half” initiative and the planned reopening of Guam next month is still on.

However, the governor stressed that her administration will not hesitate to change course or shift its posture, depending on any new developments.

“We have always stated that the new liberties that could go into effect are contingent upon COVID-19 transmission within our community. I must stress that we need to contain this cluster, and control the spread in order for us to move forward in our recovery,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor also emphasized that being vaccinated does not mean that one cannot be infected and cannot be infectious.

“What it means is you can have the virus, and you can give the virus to other people. And again, the importance of that is, if we do allow opportunities to transmit this virus, we will go back to what we were before. And that means overwhelming our hospital. That means people seriously ill. And that means people can die as a result of this virus,” Leon Guerrero said.

She added: “So we must be vaccinated. That is the only way we can have herd immunity in our community, and that is the only way we can feel safe and protected to reopen our island again, slowly, but surely by taking responsibility for ourselves and doing our duty to each other. We can come through this stronger than we ever were before.”