By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) In their news conference this morning announcing the first Guam COVID-19 fatality, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and her two chief advisors on the COVID-19 response - Dr. Michael Cruz and Dr. Jolene Aguon - placed their greatest emphasis on two words: "Stay home."
"There is strong evidence that COVID-19 cases are spread throughout the community, and has affected residents in the northern, central, and southern villages," Dr. Cruz announced.
According to the surgeon, "We know now that there are 15 confirmed cases. Six are in their 60s; two in their 50s; three in their 40s; two in their 30s; and one is in their 20s. Five of the first 15 cases had recently traveled, most to the Philippines."
Kandit is trying to get more information about this announcement of "strong evidence that COVID-19 cases are spread throughout the community." We sent the following questions to governor's director of communications Janela Carrerra, spokesman Krystal Paco-San Agustin, Civil Defense spokeswoman Jenna Blas, and public health official Bertha Taijeron:
What is this strong evidence?
Does he mean that any or all of the confirmed cases have come in close contact with a large number of people?
Where did these contacts happen?
In what villages? In what social settings? If at a senior center, which one(s)? If at church, which one(s)? If at grocery stores or shopping centers, which ones? If at school, which one(s)? If at restaurants, which ones? If at hotels, which ones? If at a bank, which one(s)?
As for the "strong evidence" of the spread of the infection - have the people who have been in contact with a possible spreader been contacted by Public Health officials so that they are aware of this? Have they been tested? If not, why not? Have they been ordered to remain in home quarantine? If not, why not? If not, how are you sure that they are not out and about in the community spreading this disease?
In what villages does this "strong evidence" of the spread of infection occur?
We also followed up on another question from yesterday: Realizing that workers at grocery stores and supermarkets such as Kmart or Payless will have contact with the greatest percentage of our population during this crisis, what is being done to ensure the protection of those workers (i.e. provide them with protective gear, sanitary products, written guidelines, etc.), and to monitor adherence to public health protocols, if there are even any?
We remain hopeful as can be in these circumstances of the governor's commitment to answering these questions of importance to each resident's knowledge of their past and present whereabouts.
But, even if they never answer these questions, they did make one thing perfectly clear: "There is strong evidence that COVID-19 cases are spread throughout the community, and has affected residents in the northern, central, and southern villages. STAY HOME."