Officials detail coronavirus precautions during oversight hearing

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At an oversight hearing this afternoon, Guam Department of Education and Guam International Airport Authority executives were asked by lawmakers the following questions: What kind of protocols do they have in place? How do they identify the symptoms of the virus? And how are they communicating with their relevant stakeholders?

Education and airport officials both say they’re doing everything in their power when it comes to the coronavirus threat but ultimately, it’s Public Health that they defer to.

At an oversight hearing this afternoon, Guam Department of Education and Guam International Airport Authority executives were asked by lawmakers the following questions: What kind of protocols do they have in place? How do they identify the symptoms of the virus? And how are they communicating with their relevant stakeholders?

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says schools do not have test kits on-site for the virus, but that school nurses treat all children showing symptoms of any infectious disease the same way.

School nurses record the symptoms, contact Public Health, quarantine the child if necessary, and send them home. They then work with Public Health for any follow-up needed.

Fernandez says parents can be the first line of defense for their kids by looking out for symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, or fever.

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“We’re telling the parents that if they feel they have any concern, they can obviously contact the school to let us know that’s why you’re keeping your child at home. Otherwise, it’s really our teachers and nurses at the school side. If your kids presented those symptoms and you sent them to school anyway, we’ll take that action as well to bring them to the nurse’s office, asses and coordinate with public health,” Fernandez said.

Airport and customs authorities meantime say their containment plans are already in action, and that they have a quarantine area set up at the airport.

Customs and Quarantine Director Ike Peredo says before the plane door even opens, customs teams are already working feverishly behind the scenes.

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“Should there be a sick person on board. The crew of that particular carrier will get all the information necessary about the type of sickness. We will get that information and contact Public Health. The team will be there upon arrival to make that assessment,” Peredo said.

Peredo says the same protocol applies to ships coming to the island’s port.

Guam is still adhering to the federal travel ban for those who have recently traveled to China.

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