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Hospital CEO updates Task Force on number of ER patients

The LBJ COVID-19 triage tents set up in front of the hospital
Those exhibiting flu-like symptoms are examined in a special tent

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — At Sunday’s ASG coronavirus task force meeting, LBJ Medical Center chief executive officer Faumuina John Faumuina gave an update on the hospital’s current work including addressing issues such as medication, which the hospital tries to keep on hand with at least a 30-day supply.

He explained that the hospital is using a specialized tent to see patients with coronavirus symptoms, to ensure that are separated from other patients seen at the LBJ emergency room.

Data presented by Faumuina, used a slide-show to illustrate that the number of patients who visited the ER from Apr. 13 to Apr. 20th averaged about 82 a day, while the number of patients seen in the ER COVID-19 Tent was 11 a day. 

The highest number of patients at the ER was seen on Apr. 16th with 108, while the COVID-19 tent saw sixteen patients on Apr 18th, according to LBJ information.

LBJ’s presentation explains that the COVID-19 Tent is used for patients that have any of the 4 indicators/symptoms: fever, shortness of breath, cough, or a quarantine history.

There are no confirmed COVID-19 cases seen in this period, according to the data that was also announced verbally by Faumuina, who notes that LBJ works with the Heath Department to test patients seen in the COVID-19 tent.

LBJ also provided an updated status of its latest testing machine, the ABI 7500 RT-PCR, which is currently on island, but not yet operational.

The equipment and spare parts arrived on last Friday’s cargo flight and two more shipment of parts are expected on May 1st and May 8th.

Furthermore, construction of the laboratory’s specialized negative pressure room to conduct testing using this machine is almost done. Once everything is in place, LBJ can do the testing as well and take the pressure off DoH, which is currently conducting tests.

Regarding the status of supplies and medication, LBJ said it aims to have a 30-day supply on hand for all COVID-19 related supplies and normal medication stock items.

Faumuina explained that the hospital is depending on the Friday cargo flight, which brings in medical supplies and medication, while larger, bulky supplies are sent via ocean freight.

“So we try to maintain 30-days of supplies on hand,” he emphasized.

The task force meeting was also informed that LBJ’s Chief Pharmacist is always in communication with US Federal Emergency Management local representatives about the current status of COVID-19 proposed medication to assist with the response.

“Prior to the pandemic, LBJ pharmacists anticipated drug shortages and were only able to procure enough COVID-19 medication to treat at least 100 to 150 patients,” according to the hospital information in its presentation. “At LBJ, we are worried about not only the COVID-19 medication, but other life saving mediations used for critical settings.”

Faumuina commended the governor, the task force, and DoH for everyone’s diligent effort in keeping American Samoa safe with no confirmed COVID-19 cases.