GovGuam urged to improve public disclosure of COVID information

Senator Therese Terlaje (PNC file photo)

Senator Therese Terlaje, the chair of the legislature’s health committee, is calling for more and better public disclosure of information on the COVID-19 virus.

This comes as the Department of Public Health and Social Services reviews a legal opinion it received from the Attorney General regarding the public disclosure and the parameters of information that can be released to the public.

During an oversight hearing on his agency, DPHSS Acting Director San Agustin advised that the AG opinion recommended that disclosure of information be related to the work of contact tracing.

After months of urging by her committee to disclose information that would be useful to the community to determine if they are at risk of exposure, Teerlaje said there are now plans to streamline the daily situation report and release a weekly surveillance report that provides more information.

In addition, protocols are being developed based on the recent AG opinion that will inform the release of the type of establishments or activities where there are known COVID clusters.

DPHSS has recently come under fire for failing to disclose the name of the company whose worker barracks were found to have a COVID cluster.

Terlaje emphasized the importance of disclosing information immediately regarding establishments and gatherings in order to ensure the community can take necessary precautions to keep their families safe.

“All of the businesses are clamoring for this data. They want our closures to be data-driven and risk-driven” said the senator.

She reiterated that the public will be supportive if it makes sense to them. “Residents want to know why certain businesses are closed and why certain ones are open and that all of our lockdowns are based on solid information.”