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Guam suffers fourth COVID-19 related death, Advisers warn death toll could top 700 or more
03:46 am GMT+12, 04/04/2020, Guam

Guam Joint Information Center confirmed the island's fourth COVID-19 related death.   
 
A 67-year-old woman, who had recently traveled to the Philippines, died on Friday at Guam Memorial Hospital.The patient had underlying health issues that were compounded by the virus, officials said.  
 
“Jeff and I send our deepest condolences to her family and everyone who loved her," said Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “While COVID-19 has taken so much from so many, it can never rob us of who we are to each other.  Tell your kids you love them tonight and heal old wounds wherever they might exist.”  
 
The governor added, “Tonight we mourn but tomorrow we continue the fight to save those we love.”   
 
The news came hours after the Department of Public Health and Social Services announced two additional positive COVID-19 cases from testing done Friday with conclusive results.  
 
To date, there have been 84 confirmed cases. 14 patients have recovered.  
 
Meanwhile, Guam's death toll from COVID-19 could reach 700 in five months if the spread of the disease can be reduced by 50% from the worst-case projection, according to numbers the governor's medical advisory group has put together.
 
Guam's number of COVID-19 cases rose to 84 on Friday with two additional cases. There have been four deaths, and 14 patients have recovered. Sixty-seven patients are in isolation. Three weeks ago, Guam had three cases.
 
The count does not include 114 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt who tested positive.
 
If the spread can be contained by only 40%, the number of deaths could increase to 2,000 in five months, according to the advisory group.
 
And if the spread of the disease can be reduced by only 20% from the worst-case scenario, Guam's community of 160,000-plus residents could see 3,000 deaths, the advisory group's projection shows.
 
The numbers were shared in the governor's daily press briefing Friday to illustrate additional measures are needed to help stem the spread of the disease by limiting movement of the public to essential activities only.
 
The governor is expected to release the details of a plan – expected to be released by Sunday – to establish road checkpoints staffed by Guam Police Department officers and Guam National Guard troops.  
 
The people manning the checkpoints will ask drivers the reason they're on the road. If it's not considered essential, such as to go buy food or go to a clinic or report for an essential job, they could be turned away.
 
In presenting the grim numbers, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said: “What you will hear will startle you; to prove this model wrong, we need all of you to do your part. You need to know what these projections say and act in the best interest of your family.”
 
At the current trajectory, the number of hospital beds needed will peak at 6,000 five months from now, according to the governor’s medical advisory group’s projection.
 
If Guam adds more drastic measures, such as restricting residents’ movements on the road, and if the spread of COVID-19 will decrease by 40%, the need for hospital beds is projected to peak at 3,000.
 
A 50% decrease in the spread of COVID-19 is projected to reduce the need for hospital beds to 1,000 in five months. Guam's number of available, staffed beds is nearly half of that.
 
Slowing the spread, or flattening the curve, means Guam won’t see hundreds of deaths, according to the projection.
 
“This trajectory is a model. It can be wrong … we have an opportunity to do what we can to make it wrong,” said Cabrera. “This is a cultural shift that we need and, without that, we’re not going to beat this.”
 
“Without implementing and enforcing much more strict compliance with the governor’s social distancing and stay home orders, the models clearly show Guam suffering through the greatest casualties since World War II,” said Dr Felix Cabrera   
 
"If we don't do anything, we will be Italy in the next six weeks," said Dr Cabrera.
 
The governor said, “We have two choices. We can act now and flatten the curve or these predictions will become our reality."
 
“Assume you’re infected so you can continue on with the measures. The measures are the same if you’re positive or negative,” said Leon Guerrero.
 
Leon Guerrero said if the government had not done anything, it would have been a worse situation.
 
Without prevention efforts that are currently in place, the death toll could have been as many as 20,000 in five months, she said.
 
“We were very proactive with our measures, that’s what’s keeping us low down in our cases. There are already signs that it’s already working but we have to work even harder to make it so that it continues in the lower part of the graph."
 
She announced that there will be a further escalation of COVID-19 prevention measures on Tuesday morning that will include greater control of the roadways and limit those traveling to and from for essential activities.
 
“These measures will be serious because we face serious consequences. We have the power to keep ourselves safe and we must use that power now,” said Leon Guerrero.

SOURCE: THE GUAM DAILY POST/PACNEWS


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