By Johnnie Rosario
Seaport general manager Rory Respicio said in a statement that 59 of his employees were potentially exposed to Covid-19 in the line of work. In the absence of symptoms, they will continue to work to ensure Guam's lifeline for the importation of food, medical supplies, and nearly all of the island's imports continues without a hitch.
Another seaport employee has tested positive, but from separate exposure.
"The individual was not one of the 59 Port employees who were identified last week as being potentially exposed to COVID-19 at a location outside of the Port,” Mr. Respicio said. “As for the 59 employees exposed to a positive COVID-19 case in the course of a work-related activity outside of the Port, Public Health has confirmed that testing for these 59 employees will take place on Thursday at Public Health.”
The person who tested positive had limited exposure to other workers, and "began to isolate at home at the onset of symptoms." The employee is not in critical condition, according to Mr. Respicio.
“The Port employee who tested positive today had limited exposure at the Port as the employee began to isolate at home at the onset of symptoms and is currently in stable condition," Mr. Respicio said. "The Port immediately sanitized the location where the individual works and notified all of our employees of the situation. We also are conducting contact tracing for any potential exposure to other port employees."
In job sites that are not considered critical to the public health response, employees who have been exposed to Covid-19 are not allowed to be back at work until they are cleared through testing, or a self-isolate at home process follows. It does not matter whether the employee has symptoms, or not. It's different for the seaport.
The 367 employees of the seaport are considered essential to the operations of the government during the public health emergency. Under U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidance, critical infrastructure employees who are exposed to the virus must continue working until the onset of symptoms.
The 59 seaport employees, who were potentially exposed to Covid-19 through an unrelated incident, continue to work in the absence of symptoms, and are being monitored by seaport officials in coordination with public health officials.
"[T]he Port remains fully operational and our employees are aware of our own guidelines for Critical Infrastructure Employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19," Mr. Respicio said. "As always, we continue to serve the people of Guam and keep the goods flowing into our island. The people of Guam need the Port and its employees more now than ever and we are here for our community despite our own situations involving COVID-19."