DOC starts COVID-19 testing; no prisoners with symptoms so far

Bill 99-36 proposes to use the 15% that is deposited into the General Fund by the pay-phone provider to ensure that all inmates and detainees can have no-cost telephonic services to contact their attorneys. (PNC file photo)

A portion of the population at the Mangilao facility under the Department of Corrections has been tested for COVID-19. The results are still pending but DOC’s Major Antone Aguon says that none of the prisoners are exhibiting symptoms.

With a prison population of over 600 inmates and detainees, getting the population tested in a safe and secure manner was a multi-agency effort. DOC Major Antone Aguon tells PNC that the National Guard lent a helping hand and Public Health brought out the nurses to administer the tests. As of yesterday, 7 of the 16 housing units at DOC were tested for COVID-19.

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“We did it one unit at a time. We had our SORT team and extra officers and of course, the National Guard was here to assist with the testing itself and so the process was quite fast. The medical team got here around 7:30 am start setting up and by 9 am they started the process and they were able to go little after 12:30 pm and during that time frame we were able to test 145 inmates and detainees in the Mangilao facility,” Aguon said.

In addition, 13 DOC employees who had not been tested previously in July were also swabbed. Aguon reports that no inmates or detainees have exhibited any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Despite this, more testing is to come.

“We still have approximately 344 prisoners remaining in Mangilao and of course we have not touched the Agana Facility which is about a 128,” Aguon said.

Aguon says they will be coordinating with Public Health on their availability to test the remaining housing units at both facilities.

As for the results of those who were tested, Aguon says he hopes to receive some result today but if not, they should receive it by Saturday.

Meanwhile, in light of PCOR1, he says operations at the department will revert back to restricted access as well as a reduction of staffing at the facilities.

“It’s more likely that our civilian staff would not report for duty and of course the civilian staff are a very important component to our operations and so not having them here will make things a little challenging as far as running the prison itself. But as far as security goes we do have enough officers,” Aguon said.

He added that there are currently 25 officers currently undergoing academy training. Their training may be placed on hold to staff the prison and its perimeter.


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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.