(Hagåtña, Guam) – In response to pleas from the frontline teams responding to Guam’s COVID-19 outbreak, Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson wrote to the Governor on Sunday requesting that the administration provide temporary lodging accommodations for all government employees working directly with coronavirus patients and those who face direct exposure in providing essential services.
“All of our nurses are at the frontlines fighting this invisible enemy, we must take care of them and provide them the necessary tools, resources and accommodations to accomplish our mission in defeating COVID-19 on Guam,” said Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson. “In war, every soldier’s morale, welfare, pay and lodging is accounted for and provided for us, so that we may be able to perform at our greatest capability and focus more on defeating the enemy. This is what we have asked of our nurses: to routinely perform at their greatest capability, give 110 percent or more of themselves to defeat our common enemy and sacrifice precious time away from caring for their families, so that they may care for others.”
The Vice Speaker explained in her letter to the Governor that there are numerous employees responding to COVID-19 across different island facilities. These employees, Nelson wrote, face increased risks by directly responding to coronavirus patients. This creates anxiety and fear as the responding employees return home, where they further risk infecting their families.
“Our nurses have asked our government to provide them temporary lodging to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in our community and to ease fears about possibly infecting their loved ones at home,” Nelson said. “Many of our nurses have already taken extreme measures to curb this risk by completely disinfecting themselves upon returning home and refraining from physical contact with their families. For the comfort of knowing that our nurses would completely avoid infecting their loved ones, especially their children, manåmko’ and those with medical conditions, let us provide our frontline responders with a place they can have peace of mind knowing they have done their job for the day and won’t jeopardize their families.”
Vice Speaker Nelson also urged the Governor to ensure that all nurses responding to Guam’s COVID-19 outbreak, including those serving at the Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada, designated quarantine sites and with the Department of Public Health and Social Services, receive the same compensation as nurses serving at the Guam Memorial Hospital. Nelson wrote that this should include calculated overtime compensation, hazardous compensation, and weekend and night differential compensation across the board.
“Ensuring equity of pay for our nurses and providing them comfortable lodging to keep their families safe is the very least we can do to let our nurses know that our community stands with them in this fight against a dangerous and invisible virus,” Nelson said. “We will continue working with our Governor to ensure that proper compensation is accounted for all our nurses as they directly respond to our island’s crisis.”
“To our heroic nurses who answered the call to serve during Guam’s time of need: Un Dångkulu Na Si Yu’os Ma’åse’ and Thank You for your courage, perseverance and resilience. May God bless you and your families for the lifesaving work you all do.”
For more information, please contact Tihu Lujan at The Office of Vice Speaker
Telena Cruz Nelson at (671) 989-7696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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