The Department of Corrections’ COVID positive numbers increased over the weekend with results from the re-testing of the prison population.
DOC Director Joe Carbullido said they just retested another 84 prisoners on Friday, Nov. 20 and got the results just this weekend, with 62 coming out positive out of the 84 prisoners.
“We are doing testing as needed, periodic monitoring twice a day from our internal medical staff. That’s how we are finding out about some of these individuals that are symptomatic or becoming symptomatic from the first testing. So we are retesting as needed. We are doing everything that we possibly can within our means,” Carbullido said.
These are prisoners from POST 5 and POST 18 at the DOC”s Mangilao compound. Carbullido reports that testing conducted a week ago at the Hagatna Detention facility resulted in two detainees testing positive. These two detainees have been released from DOC custody and are currently being held at Public Health’s government isolation facility.
In total, since the pandemic reached the prison population, there are 160 prisoners that have tested positive for COVID-19.
With COVID positive cases on the rise, Carbullido says measures are in place to combat the spread of this invisible enemy, an enemy which the department knew would invade the prison. In anticipation of this, Carbullido shares that they have identified POST 7 as the designated isolation facility.
“We have an isolation facility that is identified. We have half of that capacity at the POST 7 designated isolation facility that’s being occupied by some of the positive cases. and then those remaining are isolated within their bubble so to speak,” Carbullido said.
99.9 percent of the positive cases were from the same POST. Carbullido says under Public Health’s guidance, it was decided that these individuals be kept at the same unit. Those that tested negative at the POST are separated into a different wing. In terms of handling the increasing cases, DOC is making progress with plans for additional isolation facilities.
“We are standing up another isolation facility which is identified as one of the domes that we are trying to repair and get on track…or getting it operational.It was previously inoperable, so that’s in the works,” Carbullido said.
Securing medical tents for the Mangilao compound is also underway, Carbillido says this is an alternative for another isolation facility. Meanwhile, at the Hagatna Detention facility, efforts are being made to stand up testing machines to ensure all incoming prisoners are immediately tested upon detainment.
As far as DOC staff positivity rates, Carbullido says that there are no new cases. A dozen staffers have returned to work, 15 DOC employees remain on quarantine and about 30 officers previously tested positive remain in isolation and await clearance from Public Health.