After announcing late last week that 31 of its construction employees had contracted COVID-19, mass testing of more than 500 Core Tech International workers started Saturday.
Core Tech has 1,300 workers. They all will be tested by the Department of Public Health and Social Services over the course of the next few days.
Janela Carrera, Public Health spokeswoman, was on the scene of the testing at the company’s Dededo barracks, which the company earlier said had been deep cleaned, along with work areas and other common spaces.
Public Health ordered general contractors to pause all construction projects, effective at the close of business Nov. 14 after coronavirus cases linked to construction companies accounted for hundreds of recent cases, including clusters at Black Construction Corp. and Core Tec.
‘It’s very painful, very damaging’:All construction put on hold
Guam’s construction industry relies heavily on foreign labor, and a significant part of the workforce is housed in temporary workforce housing.
“The emergence of this cluster and the threat presented by the substantial additional cases pose a significant danger to the public health of the construction workforce, industries associated with these projects, and the larger community,” the Joint Information Center stated in a news release. “Immediate action is necessary to protect against further spread.”
“We’re compiling a list of large construction companies, particularly the ones with barracks and H-2B workers, and we’re gonna be testing most, if not all, of their workforce,” said Carrera.
Carrera said there were two lines of those being tested Saturday:
- a very short line was for those who had reported coronavirus symptoms, such as fevers and other unexplained medical changes; and
- aclong line was for those who were asymptomatic.
“So far it’s going pretty smooth,” Carrera said. “As far as the lines, we want to make sure we’re separating those who may be showing signs of COVID-19 from those who are not showing any signs.”
Core Tech said all of its employees who tested positive are in isolation and receiving daily medical treatment while being closely monitored.
Recent testing of employees of Black Construction found 435 COVID-19 positives out of 564 H2-B workers tested, while 32 of 442 from the company’s local workers tested positive — a total of 467 COVID-19 positives.
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All H2-B workers are confined at the barracks and separated by positives, negatives and close contacts, according to Carrera.
Black suspended all of its ongoing construction projects following the positive tests.
Construction companies and contractors on Guam can resume operations, subject to meeting minimum requirements of a Public Health Contractor Clearance Checklist, Carrera announced Saturday.
Construction companies and contractors requesting for clearance must fill out the the Contractor Clearance Checklist and Attachment A. Subcontractors to Black Construction and Core Tech are listed in Attachment B.
The required forms are available for download at https://dphss.guam.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Contractor-Clearance-Form-FINAL.pdf.
All forms must be submitted via email to [email protected]