COVID-19 free testing for the homeless kicks off in Tamuning

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The first day of free coronavirus testing for the island's homeless population kicked off at the Tamuning mayor's office.

The first day of free coronavirus testing for the island’s homeless population kicked off at the Tamuning mayor’s office on Tuesday, May 26. And those belonging to the homeless population are grateful such as Marcelino Aguon who shares why he chose to get tested.

“When the coronavirus came they didn’t think about us. You know, cuz we are actually one of the first people to get infected. So only now they get to help us out and I appreciate that,” Aguon said.

He added: Most people don’t really like to talk to us because they think that we’re the only people that haven’t gotten tested yet and they’re scared they’re going to get it from us. Yes, we may be homeless and you know, yes, we may be the first to get the coronavirus … but at least most of us are also trying to get tested and trying to be clear so when all this is all done everything can be back to normal.”

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TATUHA Mayor Louise Rivera says since the start of the health crisis, two homeless individuals tested positive and because it is common practice for homeless individuals to congregate, it is important to ensure that they, too, are able to be tested to reduce the spread.

“I stressed out the importance to them to come and get tested. It’s free and if they do test positive, we want to make sure that they get the care that they need,” the mayor said.

Tamuning was the first homeless testing site conducted by representatives from Guam Homeless Coalition, Catholic Social Services, Salvation Army, and Public Health.

Public Health medical team branch lead Margaretta Gaye says there will be more testing sites this week.

“We planned it throughout the week so we will be here, then Paseo tomorrow, Ypao Thursday, and then Friday in Dededo. They disperse as soon as the sun comes out,” Gaye said.

All homeless individuals who are tested at one of these sites will receive results within 48 to 72 hours. The Guam Homeless Coalition will provide information about how homeless individuals will be able to receive their results.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.