Hagåtña – Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, in consultation with the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has implemented a 14-day suspension of non-essential Government of Guam (GovGuam) operations effective today, Monday, March 16. All critical health and public safety operations will continue uninterrupted. Directors will advise employees if they are required to report for essential government operations.
The two-week suspension of non-essential government operations is intended to give DPHSS officials and our CDC advisors the best chance to investigate and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Upon confirmation of three positive results for COVID-19 on Sunday, DPHSS and the Guam Customs and Quarantine have revised information previously reported to the public, based on further investigation. Out of the three confirmed cases, two individuals previously reported to have arrived on March 2nd are confirmed to have actually arrived from Manila on February 29th. The initial information provided to DPHSS proved to be inaccurate after further investigation.
It is important to note that the spread of COVID-19 is a dynamic situation and any information resulting from an investigation may change as it develops.
Confirmed School Closures
The following updates have been provided to the Joint Information Center:
- Guam Department of Education: closed until further notice
- University of Guam: All on-campus classes canceled until further notice. All online classes resume normal operations.
- Guam Community College: The College Assembly scheduled for March has been canceled until further notice. The campus will remain closed to the public until classes resume at 4 p.m. on Monday. Further guidance will be issued if there are changes.
- Saint Paul Christian School: closed until further notice
- Guam Adventist Academy: closed until further notice
- Carmel School: closed from March 16 through March 18
Governor Leon Guerrero is meeting with school officials today to discuss further guidance.
Guidance for Travelers
Those in the community who returned from the Philippines on February 29th and have flu-like symptoms are advised to stay home and contact your respective physician for further guidance. If you recently return from travel off-island, stay at home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for 14 days. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work. Seriously consider canceling non-essential travel. Additional guidance regarding all non-resident travelers will also be provided.
Guidance for Senior Citizen Centers
All Senior Citizen Centers will be closed beginning Monday, March 16. As a precautionary measure, all individuals who have frequented a senior center in the last 14 days are asked to stay home and contact a doctor should flu-like symptoms present themselves.
Adjust Your Lifestyle Now that COVID-19 is on Guam
Although daily life must resume, the community is advised to take personal measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is encouraging social distancing. Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and others to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus. Social distancing includes avoiding high fives, shaking hands, hugs, or close contact with others. Take precautions now:
- It is currently flu and respiratory disease season and the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. However, if soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Do not touch your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands.
- Do not come in contact with people who are sick.
- Practice proper cough etiquette – cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash or cough into your sleeve if tissue is not available.
Call Your Doctor if Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, do not attempt to go directly to your healthcare provider unless it is an emergency. Instead, call your healthcare provider in advance for medical advice. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
If sick, stay home. Do not go to work, school or public areas, and avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis. Do not entertain visitors in your household or visit others. If sick, separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. If sick, do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
Stay Up to Date with Reputable Sources
It is important to note that the situation can change quickly. The community is reminded to only share official notices and visit the following links for the most up-to-date information:
- CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- DPHSS website: http://dphss.guam.gov/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-n-cov/
- GHS/OCD website: https://ghs.guam.gov/coronavirus-covid-19
For more information, contact DPHSS Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (671) 735-7154.