GFT has written to the heads of the different agencies to gauge the measure of preparedness in response to COVID-19. Likewise, GFT has spoken to some members in various agencies to raise concerns with their management. A big THANK YOU to the nurses, doctors, and other first responders in maintaining the health needs of the island. You are our heroes on the front lines. To the school nurses who jumped in to assist in our times of crisis, God Bless you.
As week one of school closures comes to an end, GDOE management has been working with GFT to address issues regarding the remainder of the school year and graduation requirements for the Class of 2020. School principals and teacher leaders have been involved in the discussions to offer equitable access to education. Moreover, the health and safety of the entire school community remain top priority. GDOE and GFT will provide more details in the upcoming week, bearing in mind that this unprecedented time in history is constantly changing.
GDOE recognizes that some households look forward to the free breakfast and lunch meal program offered by GDOE. Beginning Monday, March 23, GDOE will be providing Grab-N-Go lunches to children at one of 11 designated schools throughout the island from 11am to 1pm.
Awareness: Covid-19 has gone global and we can learn from the mishaps of others. Healthcare workers are at greater risk because of their constant exposure. We need to learn from this experience. At this point, the nurses describe the situation at GMH as a war zone. Adequate training, proper coordinated response, and equipment are needed in the preparation of dealing with the situation. They are also urging people on the island to stay home to keep themselves and others safe and to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading. Read more here.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): In the U.S. the standards for PPE have drawn from guidance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Unfortunately, they have been weakened because of global supply shortages of N95 respirators. We believe any worker who is exposed to a possible Covid-19 case should be given an N95 respirator, or one with greater protection. Bonnie Castillo, the Executive Director for National Nurses United, said, “Nurses are working with inadequate protections, and that ranges from head coverings, respirators, appropriate gowns, covers for their legs and their feet. Instead, [they] are being given a surgical mask, a paper gown and a pair of surgical gloves. That is not going to protect the nurse and it’s not going to protect anyone else.”
She warned that nurses who become infected would have to self-isolate — thus risking a nurses’ shortage — in order to prevent exposing other patients to the virus, such as those with cancer or heart conditions.
“Right now, for them to be doing this in a pandemic, it’s not just affecting us, it’s affecting our whole communities; it’s affecting our nation,” Castillo said. Read more here.
Adelup assures the public that our front line caregivers are provided adequate PPEs. Read more here.
Guam Memorial Hospital Authority
Guam Memorial Hospital Authority confirmed on 3/20 that a patient who was originally admitted to the hospital for a non-COVID-19 related illness, has now tested positive. According to a release sent out by the Hospital Administrator to all hospital staff and employees, the patient was immediately placed under isolation.
Some healthcare workers have young children. These children are not in school and require daycare or some form of babysitting. To alleviate the burden to our healthcare workers, some of our front line heroes need assistance in taking care of their children.
Port Authority of Guam
General Manager Rory Respicio remains proactive to safeguard our port employees to the fullest extent possible. With a national shortage on PPEs, let’s hope that the Port maintains its reserve of PPEs for the safety of its employees.
Guam Police Department
Effective Friday, March 20, all GPD precincts are closed to civilians. If you need to file a complaint, you are asked to call the precinct and an officer will meet with them outside. The memo can be read here.
At the writing of this eUpdate, the other agencies have yet to respond to GFT on their plan to keep the employees safe at their worksite when they are called into work during this government shut down. Employees are encouraged to raise their work environment concerns with GFT.