As Guam closes in on an entire year contending with the pandemic, the business community has repeatedly called for a plan to reopen the economy.
The Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association has teamed up with the American Medical Center, and a stateside tech company, to take matters into their own hands.
During a GHRA general membership meeting today, GHRA president Mary Rhodes said the organization plans to launch a 3-month pilot program for rapid COVID testing and surveillance.
Rhodes says the program can launch as early as next week.
The program aims to send teams out to test employees at participating businesses using rapid test kits.
Along with American Medical Center, GHRA partnered with stateside 360 Clinic.
GHRA has adapted a technological platform the company developed to support the program.
GHRA is hoping to get at least 10,000 participants to establish a baseline for surveillance.
Currently, GHRA has 25,000 test kits on-island and can begin testing next week.
Since insurance doesn’t cover any costs related to the program, for the time being, the pilot program largely relies on businesses that are willing to pay for the testing services.
Serology tests cost $55 and antigen tests cost $100.
Next week, GHRA will meet with the governor to try and secure federal funding for the program so that it can offer its services free of charge.
GHRA hopes that if the program is successful, it can be replicated by organizations in both the private and public sectors.
“So this really could be a plan, not just for the private sector but also for the public sector to regularly test employees who are working in the industry so that we can really help improve public confidence and maintain operations so that we don’t have to return to shutting down businesses,” Rhodes said.
Interested businesses can join the program by sending a request to GHRA.
More information on the program can be found on GHRA’s website, Facebook page, and on the GHRA app.