Last week, we achieved Operation Liberate Guam, a milestone in our aggressive vaccination campaign to achieve 80% herd immunity of our adult population.
While this is remarkable, we cannot and will not stop there.
Tens of thousands of Guam residents are still unvaccinated—many simply because they are not of age to receive the vaccine. Others because of vaccine hesitancy or misinformation.
As science has proven: the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
That is why I continue to call on our community: if you are eligible for the vaccine, please get your shots.
Protect yourself. Protect the ones you love. Protect our community.
The delta variant and its mutations remain a real and imminent threat to our island, and the COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be our greatest defense.
In recent days, we’ve seen an increase in the number of positive cases. We also recorded our highest CAR Score since the start of this year. Based on the information provided by Public Health, we are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 transmission throughout our community, especially among our unvaccinated.
Fortunately, our data also shows that the vaccine works, evidenced by our low COVID-19 hospital admissions. At the time of this recording, there are six hospital admissions between the Guam Memorial Hospital and the Guam Regional Medical City. Of the six admissions, five of these patients are not fully vaccinated. The vaccine’s success is not to be defined by preventing infection but is demonstrated through low hospitalizations and the decrease of the severity of the illness.
For this reason, I have mandated that all Government of Guam workers in the executive branch get fully vaccinated no later than Friday, September 24, 2021. As the largest employer on the island, we must lead by example, and I ask my sister branches of government and the private sector to follow suit.
What our data also tells us is that we must go back to basics–wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
Since the start of the pandemic, I instituted a mask mandate. While I have slowly relaxed restrictions upon achieving our vaccination milestones, I have never backed down on mask-wearing.
In line with going back to basics, my team, led by Public Health, will increase community testing. As we’ve done in the past, we know how to contain the virus. To do this, we must Test, Track, and Treat. Symptomatic or not, all are welcome to get tested and know your status. Again, testing is free. We have also increased vaccination clinics and offer all three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, and they are all free.
I want to be very clear: COVID remains on our island. As we relax restrictions, we will see an increase in our positive cases. To slow the spread and prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death, you must get vaccinated. This is how we can secure a safer community and return to some sense of normalcy. In addition, I continue to mandate wearing masks indoors and outdoors, regardless if you are vaccinated.
I want to thank the nearly 104,000 residents who’ve rolled up their sleeve, got their shots, and received the protection the vaccine provides. Should our situation escalate, I will not hesitate to reinstate restrictions to continue protecting our island.
Do your part: Wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance–and get vaccinated.