127 fully vaccinated travelers released from GovGuam quarantine in 2 days

QUARANTINE: In this Dec. 30, 2020, file photo, quarantine guests dance and applaud from balconies of the Dusit Beach Resort Guam in Tumon during a live holiday performance by the Guam National Guard's 721st Army Band rock ensemble. The governor's easing of quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers led to the release of 127 individuals on Saturday and Sunday alone. Photo courtesy of the Guam National Guard

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's decision to waive quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday resulted in the release of 127 individuals from government quarantine this past weekend, based on Adelup data.

Based on their vaccination status, 100 people were released on Saturday and another 27 were released on Sunday, according to the governor's director of communications, Krystal Paco-San Agustin.

Only those fully vaccinated with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccine and who have proof of such vaccination are allowed to skip post-travel quarantine.

The Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are FDA-authorized for emergency use.

The release of 127 from quarantine leaves 474 travelers still in government quarantine at the Dusit Beach Resort Guam and the Dusit Thani Guam Resort in Tumon, as of Monday afternoon, Paco-San Agustin said.

"We anticipate to see fewer individuals in GovGuam quarantine as the COVID-19 vaccine is more accessible locally and nationally," Paco-San Agustin said.

On Sunday, the Department of Public Health and Social Services released a guidance memo granting another option for travelers to skip quarantine – if they come from areas with few to no new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

The travelers who may skip quarantine are those coming from the Federated States of Micronesia's Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap; Palau; the Marshall Islands; New Zealand; Fiji; and Singapore. 

But they must complete their 10-day quarantine at their personal residence or rental lodging and must provide Public Health with their address and phone number and comply with symptom monitoring for 14 days after arrival via Sara Alert, among other things.

However, it's still too early to decide to reduce the required number of government quarantine rooms, Adelup said.

"While current policy allows for more exemptions from GovGuam quarantine, it may be too soon to scale down. As we know, this is a fluid situation. We will continually assess our needs and modify as needed," Paco-San Agustin said.

The governor said if conditions change, she would reinstate travel and social restrictions, including scaling back the maximum number of people that can socially gather, which has just been raised to 100.

GovGuam, using federal pandemic funds, pays for used and unused quarantine hotel rooms.

The government started placing incoming travelers in quarantine hotels when the first COVID-19 cases were linked to travel in March 2020.

Those who are not fully vaccinated still are required to go through government quarantine for up to 10 days, shorter than the prior maximum of 14.

The governor also maintains the policy of requiring wearing a mask in public, even as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said fully vaccinated people can do away with the mask in most situations.

Government officials, including the governor's Physicians Advisory Group and Public Health, continue to urge the public to get COVID-19 vaccination to keep the virus under control and further lift restrictions.

The governor's goal is to reach 80% herd immunity by July 21, when at least 109,081 residents are fully vaccinated. This includes children as young as 12 years old.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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