What is the CAR score and why is it important?

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Krystal Paco-San Agustin, the governor's press secretary, says the intent is to give the island a way to understand how well it's doing in its COVID response efforts similar to a grade or credit score. (PNC photo)

During the governor’s video released Monday, you may have heard an unfamiliar term…the CAR score. What is the CAR score and where did it come from?

The CAR score is short for Covid Area Risk score. Developed by Dr. Felix Cabrera, the CAR score is unique to Guam.

It was originally used to assess the risk of travelers from off-island and is in its third iteration.

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This latest version was adopted to take the complex data that’s generated by the island’s COVID response efforts and combine it into an easily understood number.

Krystal Paco-San Agustin, the governor’s press secretary, says the intent is to give the island a way to understand how well it’s doing in its COVID response efforts similar to a grade or credit score.

“Every night, we release results. We release results from different labs. But sometimes we don’t provide enough context. So a few weeks ago we had three positives. We only reported three positives, and people started celebrating. But little did they realize that if you read further on the table, it was only out of so many tests that were performed that day. So really it wasn’t anything to celebrate. It was just we performed a low amount of tests that particular day. So the CAR score allows us to see the bigger picture,” Paco-San Agustin said.

The CAR score takes into account the incidence of new cases, how well testing identifies those cases, and the rate of spread.

The governor’s ultimate goal is for the island to achieve a CAR score of 2.5

Paco-San Agustin says that was the island’s score for the majority of the summer.

CAR scores, like the Joint Information Center reports, reflect data for the previous day.

The CAR score released today is 23.5. Last week, it hovered around 9.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s call to action, which she introduced in her video yesterday, is called Strive for Five.

Strive for Five is a call for everyone on Guam to do their part to drop the island’s CAR score to five or less and keep it there.

“That’s the most important part. That we not just get to five, but that we maintain it, and that really provides us with the data that says hey, Guam is ready. Ready to lift restrictions, ready to possibly open more businesses, or increase social gathering numbers. Because I know we’re all experiencing COVID fatigue. For many people, they’re experiencing apathy. And so how can we make people care? Well, now we have a goal. We have a goal that we can all aim for. We hope that the people of Guam will rally with us in this goal and that we can all strive for five and get to that five, and maintain it and see our holidays,” Paco-San Agustin said.

She added that the CAR score will be pushed to the forefront of GovGuam’s messaging.

The goal is to release the CAR score on a daily basis along with the JIC reports.

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