NDAA 2021 authorizes public health lab for Guam

Guam's request for the construction of a public health laboratory has been included in the $731 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2021, which has been adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives, Adelup announced Wednesday.

“As has been said before, public health is what society collectively does to ensure the proper conditions are in place so our people can be healthy. With a new public health laboratory, we will enhance our present capabilities for early detection, early warning, and early containment of infections and diseases beyond Covid-19," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.

The governor said the coronavirus pandemic underscored the importance of investment in Guam’s healthcare system.

"A new lab with enhanced analytical testing mitigates the risk of exposure to the population. Since our island serves as a point of origin for foreign visitors to the United States and the free migration of citizens from the Compacts of Freely Associated States, this increases the need for analytical testing services on Guam,” she added.

A previous version of the NDAA did not include authorization for construction of the public health laboratory.

However, Adelup said, Leon Guerrero wrote to the chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee in March to request reconsideration of the Economic Adjustment Committee’s Implementation Plan recommendation to construct a Guam Public Health Laboratory capable of Biosafety Level 2/3 analytical testing.

The section would authorize a public infrastructure project o