Doctor: Order to stay home still necessary

GMH: A health care worker enters Guam Memorial Hospital in Tamuning on Sept. 13. The governor's physicians' advisory group is recommending an extension of the stay-at-home order. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

The governor's physicians' advisory group has recommended lifting some of the restrictions for businesses while the stay-at-home order is expected to be extended into a fifth week.

Dr. Hoa Nguyen on Wednesday stated the stay-at-home order is still necessary until the island's hospitalization rate improves and the positivity rate decreases.

As of Wednesday evening, the island recorded 29 COVID-19-related deaths, all with other underlying health conditions.

"No one is dying due to COVID-19 as the sole etiology," or cause, the physician said. "COVID-19 causes multiple complications in patients with multiple comorbidities that resulted in their death much sooner." Without COVID-19, these patients could have had a longer life span, he said.

While the last couple of weeks saw a decrease in sick visits to American Medical Center, Nguyen said more recently there's been an increase in sick visits with at least two COVID-19-positives in AMC clinics Monday.

He said the positive cases were relatively young – between 20 and 40 years old.

When asked if he still believed the lockdown is working in reducing cases, Nguyen replied, "It is working, except certain age groups. We have to approach this age group somehow with different messages."

With restaurants limited to takeout, bars closed and nonessential businesses shut down for weeks, Nguyen said based on conversations during clinic visits, many of the individuals in this age group are still gathering but in private houses.

While contact tracing is ongoing and the situation at Guam Memorial Hospital is improving with additional hires and testing, the doctor said it's still not good enough to shift the island into Pandemic Condition of Readiness 2 or fewer restrictions — not with the current hospital census and positivity rate.

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