First responder testing nears completion — all came back negative
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Health Department has increased coronavirus testing for medical staff and first responders with two government agencies to be tested this week, while all previous testing has come back negative.
This is according to DoH’s presentation at Sunday’s government COVID-19 task force meeting, where the department shared an update on the global outlook of the pandemic, including Hawaii — where Hawaiian Airlines reported earlier this week that 13 employees have tested positive for the virus.
During its presentation, DoH explained that as of July 4th, a total of 950 samples were collected for testing and all of them returned back negative of the coronavirus. American Samoa remains the only US jurisdiction — state or territory — without a case.
Of the total samples tested, 506 were from first responders covering 10 ASG agencies, the VA Clinic and the rest from the private sector first responders — Harbor Maritime Stevedoring, Hope House and Reid Stevedoring.
According to DoH, there are two more first responder agencies scheduled for testing this week — staff at the Office of Samoan Affairs and the Territorial Administration on Aging.
As previously reported by Samoa News the governor has insisted on carrying out as soon as possible testing of medical staff as well as first responders — to be followed with the community-wide based testing. This is all part of local preparations for re-opening American Samoa’s borders.
As of July 4th, there were 5,188 test kits on hand at DoH and about 2,602 of them are set-aside for community-based testing and the rest is reserved for symptomatic patients. It remains unknown at this point when the governor will order community-wide testing.
DoH at the beginning of its presentation gave an overall look at the pandemic globally including Hawaii and the US as a whole, based on data at the time from John Hopkins University, which has a running daily data base of the virus.
The university’s data (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu) shows that as of Monday afternoon, total confirmed cases globally is more than 11.6 million, with more than 530,000 deaths.
For Hawaii, the state’s health department reported 7 new cases on July 6, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,030 and 19 deaths, according to the state’s health authorities (www.health.hawaii.gov).
Also on Monday this week, Hawaii health officials explained the recent clusters of coronavirus detected in the state have been associated with people not wearing masks and not social distancing, according to The Associated Press, which also reported Hawaiian Airlines Inc. saying that 13 of its employees have tested positive and the employees took part in a flight attendant training two weeks ago at the airline’s Honolulu headquarters.
One infected attendant worked during a flight last week, the airline said. And the training involving about 60 employees included close interaction and that masks were optional.
The airline’s weekly flight between Honolulu and Pago Pago remains suspended until Aug. 1st.