Pink Eye Update: Lemanu calls emergency meeting
Due to the massive spread of Pink Eye in the territory which has affected ASG, businesses, families and schools — and now with the upcoming Flag Day activities — Acting Governor Lemanu P. Mauga called an Emergency meeting over the weekend with his cabinet members at the Department of Health.
The first meeting was held Friday afternoon where Lemanu gave the Department of Health 24- hours to come up with a plan to tackle the pink eye, given the upcoming events of Flag Day. The plan was presented early Saturday morning at DOH before the Directors of Port, the Visitors Bureau, DPS, Attorney General, the Department of Homeland Security and hospital officials.
According to Lemanu, the administration is working on having the epidemic under control and they have put mitigation measures across the island so they can bring it to the level where it is controlled, so people can start going back to work, both for ASG and the private sector.
“With the upcoming events in the territory, we have to do something… now,” he said.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PLAN TO MITIGATE OUTBREAK
DoH is looking at going all out with the Public Awareness campaign for the next two weeks on all media outlets including radio, TV and the newspaper, and the phone companies using text messages. It will also include the use of pamphlets, signs and banners.
According to the DoH Director, Motusa Tuileama Nua, DoH will organize sanitation stations at the Su’igaula Beach, Veterans Stadium, the Airport, Seaport and all recreational parks. There will also be a Health inspector checking food vendors, schools and public bathrooms for availability of sanitizers, soap and paper towels.
The Directives from the governor’s office will include reinforcing the order that ASG employees who are affected with pink eye remain at home. DoH Director further cautioned that those who are employed at restaurants and hotels with pink eye should stay home. According to Motusa, all DOE employees and students who are affected are to remain at home, as there are cases where teachers are still seen in the classrooms with pink eye.
He said DOE officials will work to assure that all bathrooms, classrooms, and cafeterias should be equipped with sanitizers and/or soap and paper towels. DOE is also tasked to encourage parents to provide children with hand sanitizers and teach children to wash hands frequently. DOE will also be distributing “pink-eye — what-you-should- know” fliers and pamphlets to all DOE employees and students.
The Attorney General’s office will heavily emphasize that airport and seaports are to be equipped with soap, sanitizers, and paper towels. Immigration officers are reminded to check the health section of immigration entry forms of passengers, and if there are any pink eye cases, they are to be referred to the DoH station at the airport. The AG’s office also has issued restriction of travel for passengers with pink eye for all the airlines.
According to David Vaeafe, head of the Visitors Bureau, there is a cruise ship expected on Tuesday and it has been informed of the pink eye on island, so they are aware.
“Vendors who do have pink eye will not be allowed, you will be turned away, as the Port Securities will be looking out for those with pink eye,” said Vaeafe.
“We have to be mindful as we don't want any tourists to catch the pink eye, at the same time, the DoH employees will be on the Port and they will be giving out their health brochures and informing the passengers as they come off.
“All cruise ships everywhere have sanitizing stations for the passengers as they depart,” he noted.
Vaeafe said the other two cruise ships which are scheduled to come to Port later this month have also been made aware of the epidemic.