The government of Guam's Joint Information Center on Friday evening confirmed that Guam has an India variant-related case of COVID-19.

Previously, Guam had seven cases identified with the U.K. variant, eight cases identified with the California variant and a case identified with the South African variant.

The India variant, which is said to be 50% more infectious, is likely to become the mainstream virus in the future, The Washington Post reported.

On May 28, GovGuam confirmed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has gotten back on samples sent from Guam in March and April.

There were five cases that were travel-related and 13 had no known travel history, which indicates that the COVID-19 variants have been spreading within our community and that not all of the variant cases were brought in by newly arrived travelers.

Of the five travel-related cases, three were identified in the government of Guam quarantine facility.

Of the additional variant cases on Guam, 16 were identified as B.1.1.7 or the U.K. variant, one was identified as the B.1.351 or the South African variant, and one was identified as the B.1.617.2 or the India variant, according to GovGuam.

These cases are a reminder that we as a community need to keep wearing our masks when we're in a public place indoors and outdoors where there is a high risk of being in close contact with other people who are not from our household.

Mask-wearing will also be crucial when tourists start returning to our island and quarantine can be skipped by travelers who are vaccinated, but their vaccines are not U.S. government-approved.

The upside is GovGuam has made COVID-19 vaccination easily available at no cost to anyone of age who lives here and who wants to get vaccinated.

This week there will be at least three sites that offer free COVID-19 vaccines:

• Today through Saturday, noon - 5:30 p.m., University of Guam Calvo Field House, Mangilao, register at tinyurl.com/vaxguam. Bring your appointment confirmation, photo ID, and proof of Guam residency such as your Guam Driver's License, Guam ID, Green Card, U.S., Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, or Marshall Islands passport.

• Today through Wednesday, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Public Health Southern Region Community Health Center, Inalåhan, call 671-828-7604/5/7518 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are accepted.

• Wednesday, 9 a.m - noon, Farmers Co-op Market, Dededo, drive-thru testing and drive-thru vaccination.

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