No new COVID strains on Guam yet but DPHSS still has to get results

(CDC photo)

The much-dreaded COVID-19 variants that are more contagious than the original strain are still not on Guam.

This was the assurance given by Dr. Felix Cabrera, Public Health’s medical director, during an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

The Centers for Disease Control has a list of multiple COVID-19 variants, including one detected in the UK which has a large number of mutations and spreads more easily and quickly than the others. The strain has been detected in the U.S. and Canada.

In South Africa, there’s another variant originally detected in early October, which CDC says shares some mutations with the variant detected in the UK.

In Brazil, a variant was identified in four travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at Tokyo’s Haneda airport

Cabrera says that for now, they have zero evidence of the new COVID strains on island. However, Cabrera said Public Health still hasn’t gotten back the results of the samples it sent to the U.S. CDC with regard to the COVID-19 variance.

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“No, we haven’t. Not yet. You know, we were hoping for this week. They gave us a range of either last week or this weekend. And so we’re expecting the results. This week, again, those were for the samples that we sent out on January 27, and they’re 20 samples. We also sent another 20 samples back on February 10. We’re not waiting for the results of the last one. We’re going out and setting up more samples,” Cabrera said.

Even if a variant can be confirmed from some of the previous samples sent to CDC, the fact that we still have none today is proof that Guam’s COVID mitigation measures are working, according to Cabrera.

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“For example, some of the samples we sent go back to December and early January. And so the ironic thing is that if you actually identified that … like let’s say the UK variant was indeed here on Guam, but it was from December, then actually the evidence shows that we’ve actually done a good job of containing it here on Guam, in terms of community spread,” the doctor said.

Cabrera says should Public Health identify one of these COVID-strains in quarantine, it just goes to show how important the process is in curbing the spread of the virus.