GDOE hasn’t started weekly COVID testing yet; may start by next week

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez (PNC file photo)

The Guam Department still hasn’t started the required weekly COVID testing for its unvaccinated employees.

“We are in the process of moving forward to implement the weekly testing. We have not started weekly testing yet. But we hope to start as soon as next week,” GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said during Wednesday’s media briefing.

He said there are still some matters pending before GDOE can start the tests.

“A couple of things need to happen before we can move forward with that. One of those items is getting a standing order from the Department of Public Health to authorize our nurses to administer tests and to also report positive COVID-19 results to our public health authorities,” Fernandez said.

The second thing that needs to happen, according to Fernandez, is to get the official authorization for the designation of schools to be able to be used as testing sites for GDOE employees, and eventually students when GDOE gets to the point of implementing a screening testing plan.

“I did follow up with Public Health director San Agustin this morning and he’s working on getting those two items addressed. And once that is done, we’ll be able to then coordinate testing of our employees as early as next week. As long as we get those things done. The reason why we are going with the site-based testing is really to avoid disrupting school operations as much as possible,” Fernandez said.

Based on their latest information, Fernandez said 88.5% of GDOE employees have already been fully vaccinated.

“So right now we estimate that we may need to test about up to 300 employees per week. Instead of having them leave campus for a couple of hours to line up at an external government testing site, we are working to have our nurses go ahead and use the flexibility at the schools to administer those tests throughout the week to employees who are at that site. That’ll be easier for us to do and we’re definitely hoping to maintain smooth operations without having employees leave the campus,” Fernandez said.