'There are tough days ahead'

SCREENING: Physician Assistant Bethany Helm screens a drive-thru patient outside the Seventh-day Adventist Guam Clinic in Tamuning, Thursday, March 26, as part of the clinic's measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Guam has eight new confirmed COVID-19 cases, which brings the total to 45 positive cases since local testing began on March 12.

According to the latest test results released Thursday evening, the Guam Public Health Laboratory tested 38 individuals for COVID-19, with eight testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 30 testing negative. A total of 308 tests have been conducted.

One person has died from the respiratory illness. The 44 remaining cases remain in isolation.

The number released by the Joint Information Center does not include the four Navy sailors who were medically evacuated from the USS Theodore Roosevelt and taken to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam on Wednesday.

In addition to the four sailors who were evacuated to the island, a Wall Street Journal report stated another four sailors tested positive for COVID-19. However, Joint Region Marianas and U.S. Pacific Fleet Command have not responded to inquiries about the four additional reported cases and if the sailors were also airlifted to Guam.

Breakdown of previously confirmed cases

Information on the 37 previously confirmed cases provided by the Joint Information Center states that of those who tested positive, 25 of the patients are in stable condition, while 11 are hospitalized between Guam Memorial Hospital and what is now the COVID-19 isolation unit in Barrigada Heights.

There are 16 men and 21 women.

Seven had recently traveled to the Philippines, two came from the U.S. mainland, one arrived from Japan, and 27 had no travel history.

“There are tough days ahead, but we will get through this together,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said during a briefing Thursday at the government office in Adelup. “Though we must remain physically distant, we are closer than we have ever been before.”

Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio also reminded everyone why it’s important to stay home.

“There seems to be an uptick in traffic, and if you are going to do your planning ... try to consolidate that and reduce your risk,” said Tenorio. “There is a community transmission on Guam and people do need to take every precaution possible to reduce the impact you will have on your own families. So please, we ask you to stay home.”

Plans are also in the works to potentially set up short-term shelters for the homeless population.

“We are a loving community, a caring community, a generous community, and I appreciate all the support and understanding that you have done,” Leon Guerrero said. “We must continue this together and comply to the mandates and directives, because that is the only way ... we can get to zero cases a day.”

The governor has also sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting a declaration of a major disaster for Guam under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

GMH nurses test negative

Three Guam Memorial Hospital nurses who were at high risk of exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. The patient had been admitted to the hospital's Medical-Surgical Inpatient Adult Unit and placed in a private room with a closed door. The patient later tested positive for COVID-19.

Notices of violation

The Department of Revenue and Taxation issued five notices of violation to businesses that were found in violation of an executive order requiring all nonessential businesses to close down. Violations were issued to a vape shop, sporting goods store, video store, sign shop and a bar.

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