First coronavirus death on Guam as Pacific Daily News calls for more info

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Covid-19 patient had no travel history, but she had had contact with someone who travelled recently and had tested positive for the virus ... Guam Memorial Hospital's Dr Joleen Aguon. Image: PDN

By Anumita Kaur in Hagåtña

Guam medical authorities have announced the first Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic-related death during a press conference today.

The person died at 1.30 am at Guam Memorial Hospital, said Dr Mike Cruz.

The 68-year-old woman arrived at the hospital with fever, chills and shortness of breath.

READ MORE: RNZ coronavirus updates

She had no travel history. She had had contact with someone who travelled recently and had tested positive for the virus, said Dr Joleen Aguon.

The woman and the traveller did not live in the same household.


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Dr Aguon said the patient had multiple co-morbidities, including end-stage renal disease, diabetes and hypertension.

The patient and her family decided that she would not undergo extreme life-saving measures, such as life support.

Compromised immune systems
Patients with multiple co-morbidities, especially end-stage renal disease and diabetes, have compromised immune systems and are especially susceptible to complications from Covid-19, Dr Aguon said.

The announcement came a week after the governor announced the first confirmed case of the virus on the island.

During that week, a health emergency was declared, schools were closed, businesses were shut and residents were urged to socially isolate.

Arriving travellers have been placed in quarantine.

As of Sunday morning, there were 15 reported Covid-19 cases on Guam – the highest number in a Pacific territory or state.

All 15 confirmed cases were kept in isolation at Guam Memorial Hospital or at temporary home isolation, until they could be transferred to the Skilled Nursing Facility.

Of the 15 cases:

Six are in their 60s
Three are in their 50s
Three are in their 40s
Two are in their 30s
One is in their 20s

‘More transparency’ plea
Meanwhile, the Pacific Daily News appealed in an editorial today for the Guam government to be “much more open and transparent with information” about coronavirus cases on the island, an American territory in the western Pacific.

“The government has done a good job about providing general information about the disease, on the importance of social distancing, practising good hygiene and taking preventive measures to avoid contracting Covid-19,” the newspaper said.

“But the information it has been providing about those who have contracted coronavirus has been sparse, and that needs to stop.”

Reporter Anumita Kaur of the Pacific Daily News covers military, business and tourism on Guam.

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