Governor issues warnings as Delta variant hits; first Guam gala checks vaccine status
Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero warned that citations could be issued by the Guam Department of Health and Social Services as well as by the Guam Police Department for people who do not follow the mask mandate. “They will go through the traffic court,” she said. “They will be fined.” Leon Guerrero said there are reports of people who have not been wearing masks at gatherings. “Social gatherings are one of the most significant situations,” she said.
The threat came as Guam announced that of 21 samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control from July 2 and July 6, five came back showing the Delta variant, with only one travel related. The variant has been on-island for more than a month, according to Chima Mbakwem, chief medical officer at DPHSS, who also talked about clusters from a wedding on July 24, a BBQ and at karaoke bar gathering on July 23 – which contributed to the rise in COVID positive numbers. Military numbers are among those, he said, but could not identify whether those were from U.S. military resident on island,or visiting for ongoing training exercises.
Mbakwem said that DPHSS had instigated contact tracing and met with “significant resistance” from people who had frequented the karaoke bar. The alert system had not reported individuals, he said, indicating that it had not been taken up.
Arthur San Agustin, director of DPHSS, said that 84% of Government of Guam employees are vaccinated, with 23 agencies showing a vaccination rate of “90% or higher.”
Leon Guerrero said the Guam Judiciary would also be requiring its employees to vaccinate, and the Port Authority of Guam and the Consolidated Commission on Utilities would be doing the same.
Make-A-Wish Guam and CNMI will be holding its Black Tie and Twenties Gala at the Hyatt Regency Guam on Aug. 14.
Make-A-Wish made the decision “to require verification of fully vaccinated status or a negative COVID-19 test result (taken 72 hours prior to event) for all attendees,” it said in an email the planning committee supplied to the Journal.
Jennifer C. Camacho, chairwoman of the board of Make-A-Wish told the Journal, “The last thing we want is for Make-A-Wish to be known for clusters or as a super spreader event.”
Camacho said the Hyatt has been “wonderful” and had also committed that staff at the gala would also be fully vaccinated, as would band members playing at the event.
The non-profit will also be limiting attendance to 28 tables of eight people per table, and that guest lists had been submitted for each table.
Meetings on Programmatic Agreement kick off on Guam
The 9th Annual Programmatic Meeting, which is focusing on the 2011 Programmatic Agreement governing Marine Corps Camp Blaz as a result of the military realignment in the region, began the morning of Aug. 11 at the Guam Museum with an introduction and progress report. Meetings will resume the morning of Aug. 12 and are expected to be in depth, according to Journal sources. Programmatic agreements govern the implementation of a program and any potential adverse effects. This one governs the
Site visits will take place both days.
Off-island virtual attendees include Catherine Kerr of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and William Manley, designated preservation officer for the U.S. Navy. Joint Region Marianas, the Guam State Historical Preservation Office, and the 36th Guam Legislature were also represented on Aug. 11. Senators included, Speaker Therese M. Terlaje and Sen. Sabina Flores Perez, sources said.
Governor seeks new hospital; unique economic development while off-island
Also, as Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero has returned from her trip to Washington D.C., San Francisco, Calif. and Honolulu, she announced during an Aug. 10 press conference that she had met with multiple people and that the meetings have had fruitful outcomes
Meetings include this with various U.S. Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Department of Treasury personnel, as well as military leaders and Region 9 partners.
As to COVID surges, Leon Guerrero said even as the island has reached the 80% goal of vaccinations, “We cannot afford to become complacent,” and that she “won’t hesitate” to re-impose any of the previously lifted restrictions.
Forty-four new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Guam out of 764 tests performed on Aug. 9; 16 cases were identified as fully vaccinated, according to the Joint Information Center.
A main purpose of her trip was to advocate for a new public hospital, she said.
“I’m committing to getting this hospital funded through… partnerships,” she said
Leon Guerrero also came back with a plan in place to help with Guam’s economic development — three-dimensional printing. She announced that the Bureau of Statistics and Plans, along with the Guam Economic Development Authority, will conduct a feasibility study for additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing.
“Our island is in the perfect position,” she said in reference to starting the new industry.
The University of Guam’s School of Health’s Guam/Micronesia Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program will provide $3.7 million to support wound care training for elderly patients to Guam Memorial Hospital Authority staff.
The Government of Guam will receive $6 million from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, for prioritizing mitigation needs for increased resiliency, especially those vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Possible oversight on NMI chauffeurs licenses coming
The House Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations of the Northern Mariana Islands Legislature will meet on Aug.16 in the House chamber.Before it will be I-I.B. NO. 22-17, “To amend 9 CMC § 2401 to authorize the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to regulate chauffeur licenses in the CNM1,” from Rep. Joseph “Leepan” T. Guerrero and Rep. Angel A. Demapan.
The Santa Teresita Council of the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic fraternal organization) held Active Shooter Response Training for Knights, church officials, youth leaders and parishioners Aug. 10 on how to “reduce risk of an attack by an active shooter, and how to respond in the event of an active shooter incident in a church setting.” The training was conducted by “two law enforcement officials with specialized training, with assistance from other subject matter experts from the community,” according to an Aug. 10 release from the council.
The 33rd Annual Guam Micronesia Island Fair is being held virtually with performances from 22 cultural groups in Micronesia, as well as presentations from the various islands. The link is visitguam.com/gmif2021.
For your diary:
The District Courts of Guam and the CNMI, the Guam Bar Association, and CNMI Bar Association will hosting a Virtual Bankruptcy Seminar titled “Marijuana Hits the Shore of Guam and the CNMI” on Sept. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ChST.
The panel consists of CEO and co-founder of Grassroots Cannabis, Mitchell Kahn; chairwoman of the Guam Cannabis Control Board and attorney Vanessa Williams; and chairman of the Guam Visitors Bureau Milton Morinaga, also adviser to P.H.R. Ken Micronesia Inc. The moderator for the seminar will be Daniel P. Collins, bankruptcy judge from the District of Arizona.
Bar members can get two CLE Credits and Ethics CLE Credits. Registration for bar members and the public will open on Sept. 1 at www.guambar.org. mbj