HAGATNA (THE GUAM DAILY POST/PACIFIC ISLAND TIMES)—A 55-year-old man was Guam’s 70th Covid-19-related fatality. 

He died at the Guam Memorial Hospital. The patient had underlying health conditions complicated by Covid-19. He was admitted to GMH on 10 October and was a known positive case.

A 67-year-old man died at the Guam Regional Medical City. The patient– Guam’s 71st death–  had underlying health conditions that were compounded by coronavirus. He was admitted to GRMC on 24 Octoberand tested positive upon admission. 

The Joint Information Centre reported 34 new Covid-19 positive cases Saturday. To date, there have been a total of 4,175 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 71 deaths, 1,601 cases in active isolation and 2,503 not in active isolation.

“Scripture tells us that those who mourn will be comforted,” Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said. “As we join in sorrow with the families and friends who have lost so much to this virus, we must also do all that we can so no more of our fellow brothers and sisters suffer the same fate. You have heard it time and time again—wear your masks, social distance, and stay home.”

Through its swift internal contact tracing, voluntary quarantine, and testing protocols, the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority has confirmed two additional airport employees having tested positive for Covid-19, one from late yesterday and another one today.

“Both employees were identified as close contacts of previously announced cases and had been in voluntary quarantine pending COVID-19 test results for the past few days. Internal contact tracing is being conducted on the newly identified positive cases,” said John “JQ” Quinata, GIAA executive manager.

“Out of an abundance of caution, our administrative offices have been closed since Tuesday, continued sanitisation efforts have been undertaken, and normal airport operations have continued unimpeded.”

Currently, the general public is not allowed to access the airport terminal. Only GIAA-authorised employees, those providing GIAA-approved essential services, and ticketed passengers are allowed into the terminal. Entry is controlled with only official designated entrances on the ground departure level and the basement arrivals level.

The airport authority said 100 percent thermal screening continues to be in place at specified controlled entry points, while the mandatory use of face masks/coverings is strictly enforced. Signage throughout the terminal remind patrons to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing.

“We continue to do everything in our power to establish and maintain a safe environment at our only civilian airport—as our operations are essential to Guam’s connection to the world,” Quinata said.

“As social distancing and the wearing of face masks are both practiced and enforced, and hand sanitizers are provided throughout the terminal building—we want to assure the traveling public that the airport continues these safe protocols to ensure continuity of operations,” he said.

Meanwhile, a doctor on the governor’s physicians advisory grouptalked about his and other health care professionals’ frustration with those who seem to “minimise” COVID-19 deaths because of underlying health conditions, or comorbidities.

Comorbidity is defined as more than one disease or condition present in the same person at the same time.

It can be diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer, among others.

“Just because they have a comorbidity doesn’t make them less of a person. Months lost is months lost. Years lost is years lost. Decades lost is decades lost,” Dr Felix Cabrera told mayors.

Cabrera was one of the guest speakers at Wednesday’s Mayors’ Council of Guam special monthly meeting at the Sinajana Senior Citizens Centre.

Cabrera said this “cannot be an excuse” and should not even be “spoken by anybody, especially in the business community.”

The governor, in consultation with her advisory groups, placed Guam on the highest condition of pandemic readiness for the second time when cases and deaths spiked. Some businesses criticized the restrictions.

“I have comorbidities,” Cabrera told the mayors. “If I die from COVID-19, is my life less valuable because I have comorbidities? No. I hope we all agree that that is not the case. The same with everybody else in this room if you have comorbidities.”

The doctor said this is the kind of conversation that he hopes can be had with the rest of the community, and the kind that mayors can have with their constituents.

“These deaths really matter and that we can never get numb to them,” Cabrera said.

This conversation started when Asan-Maina Mayor Frankie Salas, a COVID-19 survivor, asked health officials at the meeting whether care can be improved for COVID-19 patients after he lost his 31-year-old daughter to the disease recently.

She was hospitalised for shortness of breath, only to be sent home, and then was hospitalised again and then died, Salas said.

Salas also said his daughter had diabetes and high blood pressure, along with other health issues. 

“Your daughter was a clear example of what really frustrates a lot of us in the health care industry and that are doing our best to fight COVID-19,” Cabrera said. “And that’s when a lot of people start saying that because they have comorbidities, they’re going to die anyway from COVID-19. COVID-19 just sped it up a little bit.”

Despite the setbacks, Cabrera said health professionals, with the community’s help, will continue to do their best to fight the disease and to prevent people from dying from it……PACNEWS

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