59 construction companies cleared to resume work; 2 pending

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Construction workers are tested for COVID-19 (Photo courtesy of DPHSS)

59 construction companies on Guam have so far been cleared to resume work after Public Health shut the industry down at the close of business Saturday.

Public Health says it’s zeroed in on Black Construction and Core Tech as the two primary locations of positive cases among the construction industry on Guam.

Over the weekend, Public Health tested 420 H2 workers from Core Tech of which 140 were positive — a 33% test positivity rate.

Janela Carrera, the Public Health spokesperson, says they deployed their mobile rapid testing lab to get through so many swabs in one day.

She says they had people lined up in two formations — one queue for those workers with symptoms and a second line for those who are asymptomatic.

“We were able to actually produce results within 5 to 15 minutes. So anytime we had positive cases, on the spot, we had a van ready to go and we’d isolate those positive cases on the van. That way they can be taken to isolation immediately,” Carrera said.

What’s clear, Carrera says, is that any positive cases among the industry trace back somehow to either Black or Core Tech.

The companies each have a staff of about 1300 people.

Public Health issued a Contractor Clearance Checklist over the weekend for companies to apply for an exemption to get back to work.

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“So these are for companies that perhaps have no any type of work or subcontracts with either Black Construction or Core Tech. Perhaps they’re smaller companies that don’t have any H2 workers or barracks. Maybe they have a smaller workforce… they can fill out the Contractor Clearance checklist and if they meet the minimum requirements then we can clear them so they can resume operations,” Carrera said.

She added: “That will leave us with maybe just a few companies left that would really help us to identify which companies we really need to work with … in terms of those who may have a connection to Black Construction and Core Tech, which seem to be the two major companies that have the positive cases.”

DPHSS cleared 59 companies already and had 2 pending as of Monday morning, meaning dozens of companies only stopped work for one day on Sunday.

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Mai Habib
Mai Habib is a radio and television broadcaster and journalist originally from Toronto, Canada. She worked at CTV News and CFRA in Canada for over 5-years, where she was a reporter, anchor and show host. After a brief stop in Canadian politics and the non-profit world, she's happy to be back at the news desk on Guam. Mai is a graduate of Ryerson University's journalism program and completed her Master's in International Affairs and Public Policy at Carleton University. She is excited to be reporting on Guam's current affairs, legislature and other topical issues.

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