An airman receives his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.

An airman receives his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. (Michael Murphy/U.S. Air Force)

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A 59-year-old man became Guam’s 137th COVID-19 fatality on Monday – the island’s first death from the coronavirus respiratory disease in nearly two months.

The man tested positive after arriving at Guam Regional Medical City hours before his death, according to the island’s Joint Information Center.

The U.S. territory’s previous COVID-19 death happened on March 13 – a 60-year-old woman who’d been hospitalized with the virus since Jan. 18 – the government said at the time.

On April 2, Guam announced that a review of possible coronavirus deaths revealed two additional fatalities, an 81-year-old woman who died at Guam Memorial Hospital on Jan. 11 and a 51-year-old woman who died at Naval Hospital Guam on Sept. 23.

News of Monday’s death came the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised Guam’s travel-risk level from “moderate” to “high,” meaning people should avoid all nonessential trips to the island or be fully vaccinated if they do decide to go there.

Since the pandemic began, Guam has recorded 8,004 coronavirus cases, 100 of which were active as of Monday, according to the information center. Fifteen new patients were identified on Monday.

“The latest designation from the CDC is a reminder that we must stay vigilant,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said in a statement Tuesday. “While we have achieved our Path to Half goal, it was prudent that we keep our strict quarantine protocols in place to continue to protect our community against this deadly virus and its variants.”

Path to Half was a government initiative to ease coronavirus restrictions after vaccinating half of the island’s population.

“The work continues as we push forward Operation Liberate Guam – our goal to vaccinate 80% of all eligible persons by July 21,” she said. Twitter: @StarsAndStripes

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