On-the-spot COVID-testing for Hemlani apartments and homeless residents

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COVID-19 community testing (PNC file photo)

The Department of Public Health and Social Services is expanding its community COVID-testing efforts this weekend.

Public Health Director Linda DeNorcey told K57’s Patti Arroyo Wednesday morning that they’re beginning a more targeted testing campaign, in addition to the community clinics being held.

“On Saturday, we’re already planning to go into congregate homes that are at high risk and begin swabbing right on the spot,” said DeNorcey.

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“We’ll also be looking for our homeless population and those that are residing in Agana specifically. We’ll venture to our manamko areas … that’s the Guma Trankilidat and the St. Dominic’s [residence]. So we can get the most vulnerable individuals to get tested,” she added.

DeNorcey said it’s crucial for them to find “points of infection that may occur where people don’t have time or the ability to come to health centers, private clinics, or hospitals.”

The DPHSS director said Guam will be using the approximately 6,000 test kits ordered to continue the free-swabbing clinics.

She said her team is currently coordinating for nurses to canvass congregate homes this Saturday, in particular, “the Hemlani Apartments, where there are a lot of people living close to each other. Also in Harmon, Tamuning, Merizo, and Maite.”

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DeNorcey said: “These are the areas that we’re looking for. Mostly high-risk and living in close-knit apartment units.”

Nurses will be testing residents on the spot this weekend, as opposed to handing out passes or asking people to travel to a pop-up center location.

The expanded testing is in addition to the clinic at the Astumo Gym Wednesday, which is running from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. That’s open for any island resident who has symptoms of COVID-19.

Central villagers can head to the Mangilao Senior Center Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., to get swabbed.

On Friday, anyone in the south with COVID-symptoms can get tested at the Agat Senior Center, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

On Tuesday, the Astumbo Gym pop-up clinic was open to residents of Yigo and Dededo specifically. Public Health says they tested 86 people and found one positive.

All 86 people who showed up Tuesday were tested, and no one was turned away, according to the Governor’s Office.

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