GovGuam: 19th death linked to COVID-19

OVERWHELMED: Staff members enter Guam Memorial Hospital as seen in Tamuning. The hospital had 48 patients, 11 of whom were in the intensive care unit, as of Friday night. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Thirty-two hospital staff members, including nurses and doctors, at the Guam Memorial Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 over the last few weeks.

This information surfaced as the Joint Information Center confirmed that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at GMH has reached 45 and eight of them were in the intensive care unit.

On Wednesday, officials reported 47 new COVID-19 cases on Guam. Of the the new cases, 20 were identified through contact tracing and one reported recent travel from the United States and was identified in quarantine.

The news of the hospital staffers testing positive comes as eight members of first phase of a federal medical team arrives on Guam. The team is here to help GMH. 

Charles Esteves, Office of Civil Defense administrator, confirmed their arrival. A second team will follow. In all, the team includes two intensivists who care for critically ill patients, 15 nurses and four respiratory therapists.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Phase 1 and Phase 2 teams over the weekend. Phase 2 will be deployed if it’s determined that, after Phase 1 is integrated at GMH, there’s still a need to augment the existing staff. 

The federal medical team will be on island for no more than 30 days, during which time local officials will need to secure some long-term solutions,” Esteves said.

In isolation

There’s no breakdown of what departments the COVID-positive staffers work in, according to Krystal Paco-San Agustin, governor’s press secretary. She said the staffers are in isolation but there was no information on their status.

This isn’t the first time GMH staffers have tested positive. Nor is it the only hospital to have this experience.

In April, GMH officials confirmed that 12 of their staffers tested positive for COVID-19 but have since fully recovered and reported back to work.

A GMH nurse who was a diabetic patient at the hospital for several weeks tested positive in the week she died – after having tested negative several weeks prior while in the hospital's care.

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