HAGATNA, 23 MARCH 2020 (THE GUAM DAILY POST) —Guam’s first COVID-19-related death – a 68-year-old woman with underlying medical issues – was announced Sunday morning. By Sunday night officials had announced 12 more confirmed cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 27.

Officials said 153 tests were performed from 12 March through 22 March with conclusive results.

All 26 remaining confirmed cases are in isolation. And more than ever, officials are urging members of the community to do the same as much as possible.

Though the 68-year-old woman had not recently traveled, officials said she was exposed to the virus by a family member who had traveled to Japan. That family member also tested positive, government officials said.

Officials announced that two of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 had frequented Håfa Adai Bingo Hall in Tamuning. Residents who were at the bingo parlor from 06 – 16 March are asked to self-quarantine at home. If you are among these individuals and are experiencing flu-like symptoms, you are asked to contact the Medical Triage Hotline immediately for screening.

Håfa Adai Bingo management stated the business closed operations on March 15 for the safety of its customers, earlier than the 18 March government of Guam ban on crowds of 100 or more.

“We also have sanitized the facility daily when we found that the island had three positive COVID-19 (cases),” the bingo business stated.

With a number of people already staying home as businesses shut down and the government of Guam offices close with the exception of essential services, it’s unclear whether more extreme measures will be taken. However, in a recent press release, officials reminded recipients of government benefits to safeguard their EBT cards.

“In the event of a complete Government of Guam shutdown, the (Department of Public Health and Social Services) Division of Public Welfare Benefit Issuance Section may not be able to issue replacement cards quickly if lost or misplaced,” the press release stated. “During this time of social isolation, it is important for recipients to have their EBT cards handy to purchase and stock food.”

During the press conference, the governor and her two medical advisers, Dr. Mike Cruz and Dr. Joleen Aguon reiterated a plea for residents to remain at home.

Additionally, they asked residents to isolate themselves as much as possible from those who are older.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said the people most vulnerable to COVID-19 are those with existing medical conditions that compromise their immune systems, as well as the elderly. She said healthy, younger people are more likely to have more moderate symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults ages “65 years and older, are at higher risk for severe illness. COVID-19 is a new disease and we are learning more about it every day.”

The breakdown of the ages of patients, according to Cruz, are: Six are in their 60s, three in their 50s, three in their 40s, two in their 30s and one who is in their 20s.

“Five of the first 14 cases have had recent travel, most of which is linked to the Philippines,” Cruz stated.

However, he also noted: “There is strong evidence that COVID-19 cases have spread throughout our community and has affected residents in northern, central and southern villages,” he said…. PACNEWS