Gov calls for detailed reports to eliminate gaps in COVID-19 enforcement
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — To “eliminate operational gaps which have caused confusion” in ASG’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has issued a new directive, outlining additional enforcement protocol and reports that must be submitted by enforcement agencies.
In his Mar. 31st memo to cabinet members, the governor reiterated that the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration clearly articulates policies, protocols, guidelines, advisories, and procedures to empower the government to effectively preempt the entry, contain the spread, and successfully treat those of our people who may fall victim to the deadly coronavirus.
He also notes that American Samoa has closed its borders, which shuts the inflow of potential carriers of the virus.
“Our current focus is to seamlessly and transparently enforce the implementation of our mitigation and prevention plan,” he said, and noted concerns with the flow of information on the enforcement work being done that is not channeled up the ladder through ASG’s COVID-19 Task Force to be vetted before submission to the governor and lieutenant governor for final decision.
Therefore, Lolo said he is compelled to issue a new directive outlying “additional protocols... to eliminate operational gaps which have caused confusion relegating the process to be inefficient and time consuming.”
Lolo directed that every Friday, before the end of the day, specific agencies are to transmit reports to Governor’s Office, attention of the COVID-19 task force, where a report will be prepared for the governor and lieutenant governor for review to help formulate guidance for the following week.
Health director’s report is to include the number of individuals still in public quarantine as well as those who have been released; number of individuals self-quarantined; status of individuals in both public and self-quarantined; age and village of individuals both in public and self-quarantine; and state of origination for individuals in both public and self quarantine.
DoH is also to report status of supplies and medications; status of its workforce and challenges being faced with suggested solution.
LBJ Medical Center chief executive officer’s report is to include, number of individuals visiting Emergency Room with coronavirus symptoms; number of specimens sent off-island for testing; status of these individuals seen at the ER; report on the status of medical supplies and medications; status of the workforce; and challenges being faced with suggested solutions.
Police Commissioner’s report includes — business, including buses and taxis — compliance to operating hours including buses; number of businesses cited for violations; public response to the ban on public gathering — such as closure of public parks and facilities; gas stations response to operating hours closure; grocery stores compliance with social distancing protocols; and enumerate challenges and suggest remedies.
Samoa News notes that the Chamber of Commerce has requested gas stations be exempted from the 6am to 6pm restricted hours of operations, but COVID-19 task force chairman, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News early this week — that stations must close at 6pm.
HOMELAND SECURITY REPORT
ASG Homeland Security director’s report to include: list of supplies requested by agencies along with the associated costs; status of the assistance requested to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency; hours worked by all first responders during the week along with detailing the work being done by these first responders; and list of all supplies being requested by agencies.
HUMAN RESOURCES REPORT
Human Resources director’s report to include number of overtime hours incurred by first responders due to COVID-19 emergency; distribution of aid from the US Labor Department due to COVID-19; number of emergency hires along with associated costs due to the COVID-19 emergency by agency and type of profession and leave activity during the COVID-19 emergency period.
According to the governor all COVID-19 task force members as well as all directors are to present their weekly reports on what their agency did during the week to enforce provisions of the declaration. Of importance, said Lolo, is the experience gained attributed to the new working hours and employment format particularly for workers 60-years and over, who are required to work from home.
“Now that we have put in place our plan to fight the disease, our significant challenge now is to maximize the enforcement of the policies and actions we have put in place,” Lolo said and expressed appreciation to cabinet members for their hard work. “We need to report … incidents violating our policies.”
Lolo notes that he expects “every one of you to do your part”, but if it’s “brought to my attention or if I see for myself that you are not doing your part, I will not hesitate to replace you with someone who will take seriously our endeavors to save our people’s lives.”
“Our collective prayers for our Merciful and Loving God to continue to bless us as we brace to prepare for the COVID-19 wave that is coming our way,” he concluded.