The Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association is leading a private sector initiative that aims to conduct random COVID-19 testing among customer-facing workers and other at-risk employees.
One goal is to determine if workers at the front line are reporting to work but may actually have COVID-19 without showing symptoms, said Mary Rhodes, GHRA president.
The effort also is meant to show to the tourism markets that Guam is being proactive about keeping its workforce healthy, and away from the workplace if they fall ill. The system could also keep the government from shutting down entire industries, according to the initiative.
The plan aims to test 100% of employees at a worksite that opts in. There will be a retest after every seven to 14 days depending on when the employer wants to test again. The retest will randomly pick 15% of the workers at a worksite, according to the plan.
For now, the employers who sign up will be picking up the tab, or the cost could also be borne by the employees, depending on the arrangement in the workplace.
The private-sector initiative involves setting its own rapid engagement team for worksite testing. GHRA also partnered with American Medical Center for the initiative.
A serology test will cost $55 apiece and includes a response team to go to a worksite, testing for antibodies, and using kits similar to a diabetic test kit. The antigen test costs $100 each.
The initiative aims to enlist retail, construction, hotel, restaurant, banking and other industries as well as government agencies.
Rhodes said the private sector initiative hopes to get funding support from the government of Guam using Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds. A meeting with the governor is scheduled in the next few days, she said.
There are currently 25,000 test kits available for the private sector initiative, Rhodes said.
With GovGuam’s help, as many as 10,000 tests could be conducted
The initiative is called Ta Na Homlu I Isla-Ta or "Let’s Heal our Island."
GHRA will also work with the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
The digital data-collection platform the initiative will use has been applied in California for months now, Rhodes said. She added that the system will allow Public Health to gain information for contact tracing.
“This could be a plan for the private sector to regularly test our employees to help improve public confidence and maintain operations so we don’t have to return to shutting down businesses,” Rhodes said.