I read the article, "Attorney: We have a right to be treated fairly," in (Monday's The Guam Daily Post), and as a result, I had several emotions. I am currently writing to you from my court-ordered detainment quarantine facility. At around 6 p.m. on Sept. 13, I received this news via a letter from Arthur U. San Agustin, acting director for DPHSS. The document made me chuckle a bit since the "voluntary quarantine" was anything but voluntary from the start. While the article title insinuates that I am not being treated well, I would like first to take the time to iterate that my stay at a Guam government quarantine facility has been a pleasant experience. The team of Guam National Guard warfighters has been courteous and respectful. I receive three hot meals a day and have plenty of water and amenities to endure. A medical staff team visits my room every day to check my temperature and ensures that I am receiving everything I need.
Further, the justification to mandatorily shut down movement and order quarantine for individuals flying into Guam ultimately makes sense to me. Taking into consideration the limited supplies that hospitals and clinics have, being able to anticipate appropriate actions for patient surge capacity is a difficult feat to balance. Making aggressive decisions is the right solution, in my opinion. But the sometimes confusing declarations have brought me heartache.
To convey my emotions about my quarantine experience thus far, I will have to start from the beginning. I am an active-duty military member and received orders to permanently change duty stations to Guam while I was away, deployed. My order to move was such fantastic news because I was already engaged in a long-distance relationship with my wife. She lives in Guam, and it has been almost a year since I have seen her. Shortly after my notice of orders, COVID-19 started showing signs of being a significant pandemic, and the uncertainty of seeing my wife any time soon waned. Our worst fears, globally, came true, and COVID-19 has proven to be a precarious disease of pandemic magnitude.
All military members received the stop movement order, and my movement month was affected as a result. I would have to wait until November at best to move to Guam. Given the status of our already long-distance relationship, I was willing and prepared to accept that I would have to wait longer to see my wife. Fortunately, my command made every effort to ensure that I did not have to wait longer. My leadership team permitted me to move during my originally intended move month of September. I learned this exciting news while Guam was still allowing individuals freedom of choice of where and how to quarantine based on negative test results. I received my negative test result on Sept. 10, the day before I flew out. In my case, I would have been enjoying two weeks of quarantine with my wife and stepson. I would have been using this precious time to rekindle all the missed time we have been through these past few years. Come late September, when I have completed the 14-day restriction of movement, I will be running strides to work in my mission essential duties. Since my wife and I are military members, access for her to acquire supplies, and enough food to sustain for 14 days would not have been an issue. Not to mention, our military command team in Guam would have supplemented for any other supplies necessary during our restriction of movement. So, I hope you understand why I am writing with a heavy heart. The decision to place all personnel within mandatory quarantine facilities – paid for by the government of Guam and FEMA emergency funds – begs several questions. For example, is there any reprieve or validation the government is attempting to justify by filling up as many rooms as possible?
I hope this message reaches you all well. Thank you for all that you do to keep the great people of Guam informed. It is both a scary and exciting time to be alive.
Lastly ... (Monday was) my birthday, and my wife and I did our best to make the most with the cards we have been dealt with. She risks the safety and seclusion of her home to spend a few minutes of her day seeing me from my balcony.
Skye B. is a resident of Tumon