New quarantine regs, projections could come, air force personnel ‘lawyering up’

In a news conference on June 27, Dr. Felix Cabrera shared new quarantine regulations that include U.S. mainland states as what will now be referred to as “high risk areas” rather than hotspots. States specifically mentioned include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

The Philippines is listed as a high-risk area, along with India, Africa, and the Middle East among others. Transit destinations would not count, Cabrera said.

Arrivals from non-high-risk areas with a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival would be able to home or self-quarantine and repeat the test on Day 7 for early quarantine release.  Those individuals would still need to be in touch with Public Health, he said. Residency will no longer be a factor.

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said that testing would now look at a “test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.” She said changes to the quarantine would take place from midnight on July 1.

Cabrera told the Journal that unlike with previous analyses of cases he is not yet able to provide any projections.

“In the next week or so there might be a trajectory that might be useful.”

Laurent “Lori” Duenas, acting director at the Guam Department of Public Health said that there has been an increase of positive cases in the North of Guam, and that testing in the next three weeks would “focus on the North side” of the island.

The governor said that 7.4% of Guam’s population had been tested, which was a higher rate than some U.S. states.

Contact tracing is ongoing. Leon Guerrero said that unlike previous spikes the most recent one was not a cluster.

Three additional cases announced June 26 took Guam to 248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 5 deaths, 179 released from isolation, and 64 active cases. Of those cases, 206 are classified as civilians, and 42 are military service members.

The governor said that not opening tourism on July 1 was not a reaction to the Air Force cases. Regarding the visiting Air Force personnel that broke quarantine at the Guam Reef Hotel, she said, “I have expressed my concern about it and the community’s outrage.”

She said the military had take protective measures like restricting its populations from visiting bars and dine-in restaurants. As to if the initial infection among that group had occurred prior to arrival on-island or not and a contact source, she said, she had not been informed about that.

Military are required to identify their place of origin as any arrival in Guam is. However, she said, other information was not necessarily forthcoming. “Some of these airmen have lawyered up.”

The governor said she did not discuss the revocation of opening the island for tourism with the business organizations. “I needed to make a decision. I did not run it by the business community. … However, I am talking to the business community,” she said.

She did want them to continue to prepare for tourists, which she said she does not expect immediately. “We probably won’t see people until August or September.” Tourists will likely not come if there is a quarantine requirement, she said. “Even if we do [see them], it’s just going to be a trickle.”


Guam airport board installs management team

The board of the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam on June 26 voted to appoint John Quinata as executive manager. Also appointed as deputy executive manager was Artemio “Ricky” Hernandez – the deputy administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority.

The two will take home base salaries of $154,979 and $140,066 respectively. Quinata’s salary is the same as former executive manager Thomas Ada earned.

Quinata told the Journal he believed he was appointed for what he brings to the position, which he described as “all my leadership and management skills … .”

Aside from decades of military service, Quinata was director of Guam Customs and Quarantine from 1995 to 2002. He also served as a senator in the 27th Guam Legislature and has been deputy executive manager for about 14 months.

As well as overseeing quarantine protocols, Quinata told the Journal, “I’ve been taking the helm in making sure the airport functions 24/7.”

In his remarks to the board before members voted to appoint Hernandez, Quinata said that Hernandez brings an “outstanding financial background” to the deputy executive managership and adds to its diversity. Brian J. Bamba, senior vice president of IP&E, who chairs the board, told Quinata he looked forward to his continuation of leadership at the airport. Bamba said of Hernandez, “I have a lot of respect for him … and his work ethics, which are second to none.”


Japanese LCC pushes back Saipan route; Guam seeing training and cargo flights; Palau gets Koreans

In other tourism related news, on June 25 Skymark Airlines pushed back its service on the Tokyo-Saipan route to Sept. 30. The airline is offering clients a fee-free change or a full refund, according to its site.

Korean Air is adding international routes to a variety of destinations in July, as is United Airlines – which will resume flights to Shanghai from San Francisco and a new service to Haneda from the U.S. mainland, as well as resumption of its Chicago-Tokyo flight.

In his manager’s report to the board of the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam, incoming executive manager John Quinata told the board on June 26 that the United Honolulu flight had seen increased inbound traffic from between 20 to 30 passengers to more than 90. “It’s starting to pick up,” he said. The increase may be due to returning residents such as students.

Philippine Airlines saw 12 passengers inbound to Manila denied entry he said. “The Philippines government has stopped all passengers from Guam.

Fedex and UPS cargo flights continue to the island, he said.

Japan Airlines is also resuming training flights for pilots at the airport, he said.

Quinata said of the Korean market, “Those folks don’t want to come to the island if they have to quarantine.”

South Korea and Palau have agreed to lift the limit on the number of flights between the two countries due to rising demand, Yonhap News Agency reported June 26.

Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc., the country’s two biggest carriers, were allowed to serve a combined six flights a week during the winter months last year, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

All flights were suspended due to the new coronavirus outbreak since early this year.

Under the agreement, the country’s low-cost carriers will be allowed to fly to Palau, Yonhap said.


US mainland company bags Marianas work

Poole Fire Protection Inc. of Olathe, Kan. was awarded June 27 an $10,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect-engineer contract for architect-engineer services for fire protection testing, inspection, studies and surveys at various locations in all areas under the cognizance of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

No task orders are being issued at this time. Work will be performed at various Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Pacific area of operations including, but not limited to Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands (40%); Japan (40%); Australia (10%); and Diego Garcia (10%).

The work to be performed provides for the following services final acceptance testing and inspection of all types of installed fire protection systems, fire protection and life safety studies, surveys and water flow testing. Work is expected to be complete by June 2025. Fiscal 2018 military construction (planning and design) contract funds in the amount of $10,000 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by MILCON. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website and four proposals were received. NAVFAC Pacific is the contracting activity. 


Naval Base Guam to open for more ships

Naval Base Guam announced June 26 it has been designated a “Safe Haven Liberty port for ships to safely pull in for potential logistical re-supply, possible repairs, and the rest and relaxation for sailors and crewmembers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This apparently was not the case with U.S. Air Force personnel deployed to Guam and lodged at the Guam Reef Hotel from May 25. No information has been given to date on which location the personnel came from, or other details. After positive cases, the military took a number of days to move the Air Force personnel to Andersen Air Force Base.

The Navy Exchange Guam is also supporting the port visits and is “offering a variety of services from laundry and dry cleaning, to food, tent rentals, ship orders … , “ according to the exchange general manager.


US DOI doles out TA grants

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs is giving $2.66 million in fiscal 2020 technical assistance grants to Guam, according to a June 26 release.

These are $1,22 million to the Guam State Clearinghouse for the digital archival of historical government documents and historical records in the Guam Public Library System; $366,989 to the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority to train nursing and revenue cycle management staff; $310,000 to the Office of the Attorney General for financial forensics training; $309,828 to the Department of Land Management for IT upgrade, equipment, and supplies; $300,500 to the Bureau of Statistic and Plans to modernize Guam’s customs and import operations; $95,175 to the Department of Education for internal audit and financial affairs training; $58,200 to the Department of Public Works for a new CCTV system and barcode inventory system; and $334,260 to the University of Guam to develop professional curators. 

DOI announced June 4 an award of $3.44 million June 4 to Guam for brown tree snake control.