The Department of Public Health and Social Services is reaching out to churchgoers of Iglesia Ni Cristo, or Church of Christ, on Guam because of possible exposure to COVID-19.

"There is a faith-based organization that we have identified and that's the Iglesia (Ni) Cristo and we're going to be coming out with all the different areas that – there has been a whole congregation so we'll be getting that out very shortly," said Linda Unpingco-DeNorcey, director of DPHSS.

"Iglesia is being traced," DeNorcey said. Public Health is putting together a list of people who may have to get tested.

She urged people who have had contact with Iglesia Ni Cristo churchgoers, and the churchgoers themselves, to get medical help if they experience symptoms related to the pneumonia-like disease. Symptoms include high fever, coughing, shortness of breath and a loss of taste or smell.

"We really want to send out a message to everyone to be very proactive, so if they are experiencing any symptoms, don't wait for any calls to be made, just go in and see your health care provider," DeNorcey said.

The church was founded in the Philippines and its main church on Guam is located along Route 16 in Harmon.

Contact tracing involves finding people with links to anyone who has been in contact with a COVID-19 patient over the past 14 days, she said.

Saipan death

Francisco Santos, a Guam official for the church, said there hasn't been a COVID-19 death on Guam connected to Iglesia Ni Cristo but the fatality in Saipan is from the church.

"I think the one in Saipan, not here on Guam ... the one in Saipan is a member of the church," Santos said.  

He said the church's members are no longer gathering at church. They stopped in-church service on March 14, he said. Members both in Guam and Saipan have been praying at home, not in the chapel, he said.

He directed further questions to the district minister, Noel Gasmen. However, after making initial contact on Sunday morning, The Guam Daily Post has not been able to reach Gasmen again for further comment.

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