Coronavirus-related preps in Guam

Posted on Jan 31 2020


Although no cases of the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, has been reported in Guam or the Mariana Islands to date, the Department of Public Health and Social Services in Guam, along with emergency management stakeholders, is actively preparing for its potential arrival. DPHSS continues to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it prepares its response, updating any plans or procedures as CDC guidelines change.

As of Jan. 27, 2020, CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.

Multi-agency efforts
On Jan. 29, 2020 DPHSS met with key external stakeholders to establish consensus on best practices to keep 2019-nCoV off Guam and to discuss the emergency protocols in the event that a patient tests positive on island.
DPHSS and CDC partners are also visiting healthcare facilities throughout the island to educate providers on the signs and symptoms of 2019-nCoV to immediately identify suspect cases, i.e. patients under investigation.

Signs and symptoms
For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people being mildly sick to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of Breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and inform them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

Avoid contact with others.

Do not travel while sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

Wear a facemask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room with you.

Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

It is important to note that individuals displaying symptoms of 2019-nCoV or those who test positive will not be deported from Guam.

For healthcare professionals
Healthcare providers should immediately notify both infection control personnel at their facility and the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services in the event of a patient under investigation. DPHSS can be reached 24/7 at (671) 888-9276. DPHSS staff will advise professionals on how to send in samples to the CDC for testing.

An individual should be considered a PUI if they:

have a fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing) AND

have traveled to China within the last 14 days or have come into close contact with someone who has.

What you can do to avoid infection
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

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