It is nice, isn’t it, getting that sorely needed pedicure or haircut, or even a massage to get rid of the stress-created knots in your shoulders.
More businesses are opening and people are lining up to shop, eat out, or get their hair or nails done. Many are generally enjoying the additional freedoms granted by the governor’s latest executive order and what we all hope are the beginnings of the return to life as close as possible to what we had before COVID-19.
But as it is with many things, the ability to go out in public in the middle of a pandemic comes with responsibilities.
We encourage everyone to continue taking precautions - don’t hang out with a crowd of people, wear a mask when you’re in public, and wash/sanitize your hands frequently - to protect their families and the community.
The last thing we want to see is another spike in cases and a return to a lockdown. As we work to find a way to live with this virus, which will likely be with us for quite some time, let’s do what we can to stop the spread.
Open now. Close - again - if there’s a spike?
In August, when restrictions were first lifted, we saw more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases. The surge in positive cases continued through mid-September.
Those numbers look as though they’re continuing to decrease.
As of Friday night, the island had an official count of 2,286 people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. And with an asymptomatic rate somewhere around 45%, there likely are many people out there who’ve had the virus but never had symptoms and were never tested.
For the last week or so, the daily count of new positives have been relatively lower. On Friday afternoon, out of 569 people tested, 23 were confirmed positive. That’s a 4% positive rate for the day - a decrease by more than half compared to the most recent one-week average.
Dr. Ann Pobutsky, the state epidemiologist, said much of what happens with respect to the number of cases the island sees is dependent on personal behaviors. The last time the numbers spiked, the governor put the island on a lock down.
The governor did note in her statement that her advisory groups are working on a phased-in timeline for the reopening of Guam.
“The data is being reviewed constantly and a number of options and safety protocols are being considered,” the governor said on Thursday.
We’re glad there’s a plan being worked on and hope it can be shared with the community so we can know what else we can do to support the necessary balance between safeguarding the physical health and economic health of the community.
Another thing doctors from Guam Memorial Hospital, the Department of Public Health and Social Services or the governor’s physicians advisory group can share with the community that would be helpful is preventative care.
While the number of people hospitalized has decreased, there are still people who get so sick that they need medical care. As of Friday, there were 33 people at GMH with 11 in the intensive care unit.
Something that hasn’t been discussed much, if at all, are steps people can take to protect themselves against becoming too ill if they are exposed to the virus.
Perhaps public health officials can include in the next memo what kind of diet, exercises, could help people boost their immune systems and generally help them stay healthier so fewer people will require hospitalization.
We know a couple things for sure about this disease and the data that public health has collected:
Most of those who’ve died from COVID-19 or been hospitalized had underlying health conditions and the virus just made things worse.
If there’s anything more we can do to protect ourselves and stay out of the hospital - alleviating the stress on our public health facilities and workers - that should be shared with everyone.
With many people continuing to work from home, this would be an ideal time to start a journey to a healthier community - and reduce the number of people requiring hospitalization.
It would be just one more thing we can do to help officials manage this pandemic and move the island forward.