Guam Legislature shut down after employee tests positive for COVID-19

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An employee of the Guam Legislature has tested positive for COVID-19 forcing the building to shut down until further notice. This comes at the height of budget discussions that were being held daily this week at the Congress Building, as Senators try to hammer out a final financial blueprint for the Island before their August 31 deadline.

Phill Leon Guerrero, the Legislature’s media spokesperson on the matter, was on the air with K57 this morning confirming that lawmakers are still in recess.

He says the employee informed officials late last night that they tested positive for the virus.

“In order to not just protect our employees and our members, but the community at large and our families, we’ve decided to implement the following measures immediately: the Guam Congress Building is shut down until further notice to anyone not explicitly authorized by the Executive Director. And, we’re also directing all employees who were physically present this week for session to not report to their worksite but to telework instead. And, we’re asking these employees to isolate at home pending further guidance from their physician or Public Health.”

He added: “What we do know is that this employee was in the building during the course of session this week.”

Leon Guerrero says they’re starting the contact tracing investigation with Public Health officials. He says the legislature was implementing strict risk-mitigation efforts prior to this confirmed positive case, including wearing masks on-site and social distancing. The Legislature has also been logging every employee and member of the public that has come into the building.

“We’re exploring testing options that we can offer our employees starting today,” says Leon Guerrero.

“I do think we need to be circling around with medical professionals to ensure that we are directing our employees to test on the most productive days to help minimize the chance of a false negative result, which we know has been an issue specifically with some of the high profile cases that have been reported this week.”

There’s no exact count on how many employees were in the legislature this week yet, or how many could have been exposed.

It’s also unclear if this employee worked directly for a Senator or came in close contact with any.

As for the budget session, Leon Guerrero says, “I believe there are a number of measures we can take on to continue the sessions however, that’s a decision the legislators will have to make among themselves.”

For now, the Legislature is recessed indefinitely.

This is a developing story check back for updates.