8 people hospitalized due to COVID-19; 1 man in 30s still on ventilator

Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

In addition to a spike in COVID-cases on island, there’s also a jump in the number of people hospitalized because of the virus.

Eight people are currently at GMH for COVID-19 treatment and one more is a Person Under Investigation (PUI), a man in his 40s, awaiting his confirmed PCR results.

Of those eight people, one is still in the ICU. It’s the same 30-something-year-old man who’s been there on a ventilator for over two weeks.

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Lillian Perez-Posadas, Guam Memorial Hospital administrator, said: “That has really affected his lungs, the capacity of his lungs. So, he still needs to be on a high level of oxygen via the ventilator but the oxygen level now…previously, he was really hypoxic, meaning the body is really not at the oxygen level normally we would have in the 90% oxygen level. But, as of yesterday, it’s picking up, the oxygen saturation is picking up.”

She added that the man has no strong underlying health issues but he does have a history of smoking and she says he could have potentially been diabetic because of elevated blood sugar levels.

But Perez-Posadas says that diagnosis is not certain because it could also be attributed to the body just producing more sugar under stress and fighting off the infection.

Doctors say he’s stabilized but definitely still needs to be on the ventilator.

Meanwhile, the other seven patients range in age from 20s to 60s. One of them is in the 70s age range.

“They’re stable. Some of them are still using supplemental oxygen, meaning, you know, additional oxygen more than the normal amount we get just from the air. They’re getting oxygen through a high-flow nasal cannula [tube] or they’re getting it through a mask. And then there are others who don’t need the oxygen and they’re up and about walking. So, they’re stable,” Perez-Posadas said.

The hospital’s infection-control nurse is collaborating with Public Health to contact trace all the current patients there now.

In all, Perez-Posadas says they received 59 ventilators from FEMA in addition to the devices the hospital had already, bringing them up to over 75 ventilators in case there’s a need.

And the hospital’s administrator says there are still around 20 COVID-beds available and they’re working to get the SNU outfitted as an overflow facility.

“The one thing that is holding us back on that is the chiller, the air conditioning capability. So, hopefully, we can get that up and running in place. The two chillers that we’re getting donated from a private company. If we can get at least one transported, one would be sufficient to keep the facility cooled. And if we get that transported, installed, and commissioned, then we can get that facility up and running,” Perez-Posadas said.

They’re hoping to have the AC fixed in about two weeks.

GMH is also working to ramp up the Skilled Nursing Unit facility, making it a full standing ICU facility, so any patient needing acute care doesn’t need to be transported back and forth from the hospital.