This past week, we received the official word: Omicron is here. This variant is prevalent across the globe and we knew it was only a matter of time before it would reach our shores.
The national trend is that Omicron appears to be retreating as evidenced by shrinking cases across the United States. Omicron also appears to be mild, especially for the vaccinated and boosted.
We do know that it is highly transmissible and we are seeing this in Guam’s new case counts. Although our caseload is on the rise and we expect more new cases in the days to come, we prepared for this.
We prepared by ensuring the vast majority of Guam is vaccinated.
We prepared by ensuring boosters are widely available and accessible.
We stayed prepared by continuing to Wear our masks, Wash our hands, and Watch our distance.
The trends tell us that Omicron burns fast and burns differently from Delta. Although these rising case numbers may look like an uphill battle, like I have said, we are prepared and we will continue to stay the course.
We are seeing that the percentage of cases causing severe illness is much lower than it was with the Delta variant. And vaccines, particularly after a booster shot, remain extremely effective in preventing hospitalization and death.
Prior to vaccinations, our worst days saw COVID hospitalizations exceed 100 with dozens admitted to the ICU, needing a ventilator to breathe, and at times, we mourned multiple deaths a day. With Omicron, that is not the case.
At the time of this recording, among all three of our hospitals, there are 27 COVID admissions, 3 in the ICU, and 1 on ventilator support. Despite the alarming number of new cases, we are protected. Our health interventions are working and the state of our hospital is evidence of this.
I strongly urge those of you due for the booster to roll up your sleeves and maximize your protection today. I strongly urge those who are exposed and Asymptomatic to closely monitor yourself for any symptoms and seek testing when concerned. I strongly urge those who test positive and are Symptomatic to get treatment to avoid hospitalization.
Thank you for being responsible.