Governor clarifies composition of COVID-19 Task Force
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a Jan. 18 memorandum to cabinet members, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga clarified the membership of the COVID-19 Task Force, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale, who is also the Governor’s Authorized Representative.
The membership includes 30 ASG officials, a majority of whom are cabinet members such as the Attorney General, who is the task force’s co-chair. Other ASG officials on the membership list include the ASG-Hawaii Office director, Governor’s Chief of Staff, Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel, Chief Medical Officer of LBJ hospital, Health Department’s Medical Director and DoH Clinical Director. The LBJ Medical Center executive director is a member of the task force.
Samoa News had previously reported on the names of cabinet members on the task force based on the governor’s memos issued last year, starting in January 2021 with the Lemanu Administration continuing the task force, but naming new members and the chairman from the previous Lolo Administration.
In Lemanu’s current memo, he said that task force members shall attend each meeting either in person or by video teleconference. They may also send a designee in their place. Members of the Governor’s Office, DoH and local Homeland Security Department “may bring key staff members to meetings, but attendance of support staff should be limited due to limited space.”
The governor officially confirmed and announced four legislators on the task force and that their appointment was based on the recommendation of the Senate President and the House Speaker — Sens. Tuiagamoa T. Tavai and Faiivae Iuli Godinet for the Senate; and Reps. Andra T. Samoa and Samuel Ioka Ale Meleisea for the House.
Additionally, the governor also made official the appointment of six At-Large members to the task force: Lydia Faleafine-Nomura, field representative of the U.S Interior Department in American Samoa’ Olivia Reid of G.H.C Reid & Company; Ella Gurr of Pago Pago Trading Company: Laosamoa Poasa of StarKist Samoa; Tuli Fruean — Hawaiian Airlines; and Justin Tuiasosopo, chief executive officer of Bluesky Communications.
The memo also identified ten medical professionals, who will provide medical and public health advise to the task force. From LBJ Medical Center — Tuato’o Dr. Seakerise Tuato’o — Chief of Internal Medicine; Simamao Tuato’o — Director of Nursing; and Sharmain Mageo — Infection Prevention Specialist. From DoH — deputy director Faraitoafa Utu; Dr. Elizabeth Lauvao; Dr. Aifili Tufa, Dr. Cecilia Alailima, Dr. Ronald Yip, Dr. Monita Adip and Dr. Francine Amoa.
The new memo supersedes six that were issued by the governor last year pertaining to the task force membership and other issues.