Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's chief medical adviser, Dr. Michael Cruz, on Wednesday shared with mayors his optimism about a COVID-19-free Guam.
"We're gonna get there," said Cruz, state surgeon of the Guam Army National Guard, in his brief remarks.
When he stepped into the Tamuning Senior Citizens Center where the Mayors' Council of Guam was about to meet, he said he was greeted with the sights and sounds of festivities, from the smell of the corn soup even through his mask, to the chatter and the music playing. It was almost nostalgic, he said.
"Everybody was talking here about before COVID," he said, but he said people should be able to look forward to an "after COVID" Guam instead.
Hours later, the Joint Information Center released the latest COVID-19 testing results showing five new cases out of 1,412 tests from Feb. 26 to March 1.
To date, Guam has a total of 7,742 officially reported cases of COVID-19, with 131 deaths. There are 31 cases in active isolation, and 7,580 not in active isolation.
Guam's COVID-19 area risk score remains at 0.1.
The island, which has a population of about 160,000, also continues to have one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates on U.S. soil; 52,027 residents have received one or two doses, while 20,232 have gotten full vaccination, or two doses.
COVID-19 testing continues, including one today, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Nuestra Senora de las Aguas Church in Mongmong, and on Friday at the Astumbo gym in Dededo.
Vaccinations will resume next week, but only for those waiting for their second dose.
Support to mayors
At the mayors' council meeting, Cruz, a colonel in the Guam National Guard, and two other officers, introduced the mayors to an ongoing program that could help their villages.
That help can be in the form of clearing government land or cutting down a hill, using the Guam National Guard's engineer company resources, at no cost to the mayors' offices.
This is according to Maj. Melvin Pilarca, operations officer for the 105th Troop Command of the Guam Army National Guard.
This will help mayors' offices free up funds that they could use for maintenance and operations.
Pilarca said the only catch is that mayors will have to take care of all the permits, clearances and fees associated with the work that the National Guard will perform.
To avail of this program, mayors must go through the Guam National Guard's request process:
- Submit a memo via email to the Office of The Adjutant General, firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests must include map of the area and all permits needed to complete the project, among other things.
- If approved, the Operations Section of the Guam National Guard will schedule a site visit with the identified unit and the respective mayor's office to confirm the scope of work.