DPHSS scales back vaccine checks at airport to avoid "duplicating efforts"

UNITED: Passengers check in at the United Airlines counter at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport on Oct. 11, 2020. Public health officials announced on Saturday that travelers flying in from countries where airlines already checking vaccination status no longer need to clear in Guam. Post file photo 

Starting today, travel will be slightly easier for people flying in from countries where vaccination and exception screening is already being done by airlines.

The amendment to the Department of Public Health and Social Services travel policy follows guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Saturday Joint Information Center report.

The amendment comes as the island continues to record new COVID-19 cases in the hundreds.

Preliminary reports for Friday’s tests showed 198 new cases from 1,191 specimens analyzed, according to the JIC.

Additional results are pending analysis and submission from other clinics and will be reported on Tuesday.

Including Saturday’s numbers, Guam has 3,451 people in active isolation. One of the highest, if not the highest, number of isolations.

There were 23 people hospitalized:

• Guam Memorial Hospital: 14 with one in the intensive care unit

• Guam Regional Medical City: Nine with one in the ICU 


Not included in Saturday’s report was the COVID-19 Area Risk Score, which officials said isn’t an effective measurement of this fourth surge, which officials have attributed to the highly contagious, though less severe, omicron variant.

Travel

On Saturday, Public Health issued an amendment to the travel requirements, noting that local health officials will cease processing of passengers and airline crew members of flights from foreign countries where airlines are already screening for vaccination.

According to the department, the change allows DPHSS to "avoid duplicative efforts and to manage resources responsibly." 

For passengers and airline crew members on flights that are not subject to the provisions of the October 2021 Presidential Declaration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Order, DPHSS will continue the screening process, the JIC reported. These flights include departures originating from CNMI, Narita, Honolulu, Island Hopper flights originating from Honolulu, and chartered flights, wherein all passengers and airline crew members arriving from the identified flights listed shall be subject to the DPHSS mandate.

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