DOC gives update on department’s COVID situation

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Department of Corrections (PNC file photo)

The Department of Corrections prison population remains COVID-free but the same cannot be said for their staff as there have been over a dozen more positive cases.

DOC Major Antone Aguon confirms that the department does have a few more that are COVID positive.

“Currently, we have 26 personnel positive. As of today, Thursday, the breakdown would be 7 recruits, 18 officers, and one civilian,” Aguon said.

He stressed that none of these cases are tied to the COVID-positive case reported last month. Instead, he said it started with one officer testing positive last week.

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“We quarantined the other officers that had close contact with the positive officer and the other officers, while in quarantine, started developing symptoms. There were about maybe two of them. When they came to work, they started feeling symptoms and they eventually got tested and so we had to quarantine more that came into contact with that officer,” Aguon said.

In total, there are 42 personnel that are on quarantine status as a result of close contact tracing. This breaks down to 8 recruits, 33 officers, and one civilian employed with Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center. Those on quarantine have been tested for COVID and, according to Aguon, as of Thursday, some results have come negative while others are waiting for their test results.

“Overall that would give me 68 personnel that are basically either on quarantine, awaiting results, or just doing the 14-day quarantine and that includes the 26 that are positive.

Aguon says that Public Health just finished testing DOC staff at Mangilao today. On Friday, COVID testing of inmates at the compound will begin, followed by testing of Hagatna Detention facility detainees next week as a precaution.

The increasing number of positive cases at the Mangilao compound has created challenges for DOC.

“it has had a little impact. We have had to reassign some of our officers to cover down. For example, some of our officers from internal affairs have been temporarily assigned to cover down. In certain areas, we’ve had to reassign our visitation officers to assist,” Aguon said.

The increase in positive cases also means “incoming” scheduled for this week has been postponed as a result of the decreased manpower and to ensure that families of inmates or detainees are not exposed to COVID at the facility. He is not certain when “incoming” will resume but is hopeful it will be within the coming weeks.

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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.