Guam reports 1st death related to COVID-19 outbreak

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Health officials in Guam reported the U.S. territory's first death related to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

A 68-year-old woman died at 1:30 a.m. Sunday at Guam Memorial Hospital in Tamuning, The Pacific Daily News reports.

The woman, whose identity was not released, arrived at the hospital with fever, chills and shortness of breath, officials said.

The woman had no travel history but recently came into contact with someone who had traveled recently tested positive for the virus, Dr. Joleen Aguon said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. But for the elderly and people with existing conditions, it can cause more severe illness. The vast majority of those who are infected recover.

The woman did not live in the same household as the person who tested positive for the virus, Aguon said.

The deceased woman had other conditions including end-stage renal disease, diabetes and hypertension. The patient and her family decided she would not undergo extreme life-saving measures, such as life support, Aguon said.

Patients with multiple comorbidities, referring to the presence of more than one chronic disease, are especially susceptible to complications from COVID-19, Aguon said.

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

As of Sunday morning, there were 15 reported COVID-19 cases on Guam. Patients with confirmed cases were kept in isolation at Guam Memorial Hospital or in temporary home isolation until transport to a medical facility was available.

Guam has declared a health emergency due to the outbreak, closing schools and businesses and placing arriving travelers under quarantine. Residents have been asked to practice social distancing.