By Nancy I. Maanao
The outbreak of COVID-19 among inmates and officers at the Department of Corrections is spiraling. Of 259 inmates tested yesterday, 60 have tested positive for the virus, according to DOC deputy director Robert Camacho. That brings the total inmate population sick with COVID-19 to 69, though none of the prisoners are exhibiting major symptoms.
"There have been no requests yet to see the doctor from the inmates, and no high fevers," Mr. Camacho said.
DOC also is trying to manage the operations of its Mangilao facility, with 80 of its officers in quarantine, and now 39 of them sick with COVID-19.
The situation at its Hagatna detention center is uncertain at this time. "We're testing in Hagatna tomorrow," Mr. Camacho said.
The outbreak has not yet reached the point of tapping medical resources, or partnering with the Guam Memorial Hospital in case any of the inmates need intensive care, or the use of ventilators. An issue that may arise, if these become needs, is how inmates will be escorted and monitored inside GMH considering the requirement for a guard to be posted with an inmate while in the care of the hospital.
"We have a quarantine site in Mangilao that can hold 40," Mr. Camacho said. "We also have under consideration tent facilities and container facilities if the need arises."
Mr. Camacho said the department's PayTel system was upgraded six weeks ago so that inmates and detainees may be able to speak with family members and their attorneys.