Man in quarantine dies

Possible COVID-19 complications seen
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A man who passed away yesterday due to possible coronavirus-related complications was one of those in quarantine at the Kanoa Resort in Susupe, which is being used as a site for people who returned from off-island to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine. (Juntine Nauta)

A 70-year-old man who was suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus died yesterday while in quarantine at the Kanoa Resort in Susupe

It was learned at an emergency press briefing yesterday at the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. on Navy Hill that the man had no travel history but recently came in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña clarified that the contact between the deceased and the positive case did not happen at the Commonwealth Health Center nor while attending a faith-based activity.

Muña said the victim was not one of the two who have been found positive for COVID-19. In fact, CHCC is still awaiting the result of the test that the Guam Public Health laboratory did on a specimen taken from the man and CHC had submitted for testing. Additionally, Muña assured that the Guam Public Health lab is making the test a priority as soon as it is available.

The individual was seen at the CHC last March 25, and was considered a “person under investigation” based on clinical determination. CHC issued an order of quarantine for the patient and his wife to be cared for at Kanoa Resort, which is the designated quarantine location.

“Unfortunately, he had an underlying multiple medical condition. A treatment plan was offered, but the next of kin opted for comfort care at the hotel, which was adequately provided,” said Muña. “Please allow the family to grieve and give them some time,” she added, adding that CHCC will be meeting with the family personally when they are ready.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and family and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios also extended their condolences to the patient’s wife and family.

“We are deeply, deeply saddened by the passing of our community member,” said Torres. “Our thoughts are with the deceased’s family during this difficult time.”

Torres emphasized that the community must take courage and continue to play their part to fight the virus. Torres applauded the doctors, nurses, medical workers, first responders, and law enforcement for continuing to keep the community safe.

“I want to also thank our business partners, store owners, and workers for providing the necessary necessities for our community,” he added.

Kanoa Resort ventilation

Warren Villagomez, chairman of the governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, confirmed that before they chose Kanoa Resort as a quarantine site, the engineering team that is part of the task force had determined that the air conditioning system at the hotel does not recirculate air; instead, it is a direct flow.

“It is safe and sound to be at the quarantine site,” he said.

14-day mandatory quarantine

Villagomez stated that after an individual has fulfilled their 14-day mandatory quarantine, they will still continue to get monitored through the text illness monitoring system.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Kohnen, medical director of the Family Care Clinic, if an individual spent 14 days and have not had symptoms and no new exposures, they will not be monitored and will go home and take extra precautionary measures to not get exposed again.

Kohnen assured that there is medical care and medical staff available at Kanoa Resort, and, although the facility is not a hospital, if an individual does need hospital care they will be brought to CHC.

“We’re being very careful to keep people on various floors so that they are separated that way,” she said.

According to Muña, contact investigation happens as soon as an individual comes into the facility and are currently doing more testing today.

New specimens have been sent

Muña stated there have been 20 specimens that were sent to Guam’s Public Health lab. There are currently 11 pending.
“The Guam Public Health lab assured that they are going to make our testing a priority,” she said.

Torres also emphasized that he is in contact with Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero every day and she has assured him that Guam will be assisting the CNMI even though they have very limited resources and the ability to test.

The two individuals who did test positive for COVID-19 are doing well and are in isolation, according to Kohnen.

Two more tested positive for COVID-19 in Guam

The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services tested 20 individuals for COVID-19 yesterday and that two tested positive and 18 tested negative. The DPHSS overall count also includes two positive cases that were tested by the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.

That leaves Guam with a total of 58 positive case for COVID-19, seven recoveries, and one death.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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