By Eric Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) The administration’s apparent overuse of federal health privacy laws to share information with the public with respect to COVID-19 response is causing panic in the island. That according to Sen. James Moylan in a letter he sent to the governor this afternoon.
“Being in the healthcare industry prior to my role as a senator, I recognize privacy laws,” Moylan wrote. “While we don’t expect our government to release any names or pertinent information of the patients, we expect to at least provide information such as the possible whereabouts of these individuals so that island residents can take additional precautionary measures with their families.”
According to Moylan the lack of information being shared is causing a state of panic.
“The island is in a state of panic, and a lot of this has to do with the lack of information being circulated by the government,” Moylan wrote.
“It was unfortunate that through third party information, the community learnt last night that several patients who were diagnosed with the virus were sent home for isolation versus being placed at the designated isolation center at the Skilled Nursing Facility in Barrigada Heights.”
Meanwhile, the Leon Guerrero administration is doubling down on efforts to keep the public from accessing important information on the emergency response.
The administration has removed staffers from its WhatsApp chat groups, where information was leaked to the media last night showing that the governor's Homeland Security Advisor was purposefully concealing the fact that 11 of the 14 COVID-19 patients had been released into the community for home quarantine - without guards.
"They removed them, thinking that one or more of them are the leak," an elected official who remains on some of the chatrooms told Kandit on condition of anonymity.
"They're trying to prevent the public from knowing information that, frankly, we have no idea why they would want to keep the public from knowing these things. Maybe they think there will be a panic? There's already a panic because they're not providing the information and the public is smarter than that!"