COVID positive test sample going to CDC “to determine the variant”
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Health Department (DoH) will send the test sample from the local resident, who arrived on the Sept. 13th flight from Honolulu and tested COVID-19 positive, to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory “to determine the variant”, according to a news release Sunday night from the Governor’s Office.
No other information was provided as to when the test sample will be sent to CDC and the turn around time for results.
The CDC announced in late July this year that, “new data began to emerge that the Delta variant was more infectious and was leading to increased transmissibility when compared with other variants, even in some vaccinated individuals.”
Since that time, international news outlets have reported an alarming increase in the variant around the world including Hawai’i — American Samoa’s closest U.S port. More details on the variant on (www.cdc.gov).
American Samoa’s first positive case — a border case — was announced by Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale, during a COVID-19 Task Force news conference last Friday morning with DoH officials and several members of the task force in attendance.
DoH said in a news release that the positive case was one of the 43-passengers quarantined at Sadie’s by the Sea hotel, while the 200-plus passengers quarantined at Tradewinds Hotel, all had their tests come back negative.
Prior to the news conference, Lemanu — one of Sept. 13th flight passengers and in quarantine — held a zoom briefing with Talauega and task force members.
"The situation is under control. There is no need to panic,” Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga is quoted saying in the Governor’s Office news release. He points out that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), emergency first responders, and COVID-19 Task Force “are doing a great job pushing out information."
It also says that the highly-trained American Samoa Emergency First Responders acted swiftly and efficiently to move the traveler into isolation, while DOH and partnering agencies initialized contact tracing protocols.
Lemanu said it was the “swift actions by the Emergency First Responders together with the coordination efforts” by EOC and DoH that resulted in early detection and quick containment.
The governor said he is “confident in the work” of the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR), who is Talauega, and “medical professionals and know that they will do what they can to protect the health and safety of our Territory. Faafetai, faafetai tele lava.”
"ASG first responders and the COVID Task Force have been working around the clock to put the proper protocols and policies in place for the safeguarding of American Samoa,” Lemanu said. “I am proud to say that the Safe Travels American Samoa (STAS) initiative is highly effective and gives American Samoa the best chance at combating COVID-19 as it attempts to enter our shores."
The governor also “highly encourages the people of American Samoa to keep calm and remain vigilant. It would be best if you continue receiving your vaccinations to prepare your families further. Yes, you can still contract COVID when you are fully vaccinated, but the vaccination gives you the best fighting chance at recovery.”
"I would like to ask you to lean on your Faith. I ask that we continue to pray for all Emergency First Responders and their families. Pray for the infected traveler. Pray for those who have lost their loved ones to COVID, and pray for healing among survivors. May we continue to pray for our leaders for making the tough decision. God Bless you all, and God Bless American Samoa,” he added.
The governor encourages the general public that at this time, the Territory should take simple daily precautions: Wear a mask; Social distance; Wash your hands; Constantly disinfect surfaces and sanitize your hands; and Get vaccinated.