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Guam bases lower health-risk level as island reports its 60th coronavirus death

A sailor from the USS Theodore Roosvelt is screened for coronavirus symptoms at Naval Base Guam, May 7, 2020.

JORDAN GILBERT/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 13, 2020

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The military is relaxing the health-risk level at bases on Guam even as coronavirus infections continue to surge on the island.

The U.S. territory announced its 60th virus-related death on Sunday and reported 181 new cases Friday through Sunday, according to the Joint Information Center, which tracks coronavirus cases there.

As of Monday evening, the island had recorded 3,170 cases, 280 of which were U.S. service members, since March 12.

Joint Region Marianas, which oversees Naval Base Guam and nearby Andersen Air Force Base, announced Tuesday that it had reduced its level of risk for infection to “moderate,” or Health Protection Condition-Bravo, with additional, unspecified, protective measures.

The installations had been at a “substantial” risk level, or condition Charlie, since Aug. 20.

“COVID-19 remains a significant threat to public health and mission readiness and [Joint Region Marianas] remains in a public health emergency,” the command said in a statement, referring to the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

Installations on Guam will remain ready to rapidly return to a more restrictive health protection level and add protective measures if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations increase, according to the statement.

“Service members, civilian employees, contractors, and their dependents must continue to exercise personal responsibility and sound public health practices to successfully combat this pandemic,” the statement said.

Although cases may be surging within the island’s civilian population, the commander of Naval Base Guam, Capt. Jeffrey Grimes, said they appear to be falling on his installation.

Data indicates “a decreasing trajectory in the number of influenza and COVID-like illness cases” on the base over the previous two weeks, according to a public health order published Tuesday.

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