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Imported COVID cases detected from Nov. 18 flight as CDC issues alert on new variant detected in S. Africa

Dr. Fiona Trail

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa has new imported COVID-19 cases after five travelers on the Nov. 18th flight from Honolulu tested positive and the passengers, along with their family members, who traveled with them, were immediately taken into isolation, Health Department’s Dr. Fiona Trail said during a news conference Friday.

A total of 282 passengers were on that flight and DoH officials said earlier this week that 212 were quarantined at Tradewinds Hotel, 34 at Fatuoaiga facility, and 36 at Sadie’s by the Sea.

At Friday’s news conference, streamed live on KVZK-TV Facebook page, Dr. Trail — who oversee quarantine sites — said that the five positive cases are doing well and show no symptoms of COVID-19.

The positive cases along with their family members who traveled with them — totaling 16 individuals — are currently in a14-day isolation, said Dr. Trail, who joined other DoH officials at the news conference urging residents, not yet vaccinated to do so as American Samoa launches a mass vaccination next month.

The mass vaccination kicks off on Dec. 1st for Central District and the news conference revealed that a second date, Dec. 2nd, has been added for this district. This is the same for the West and East districts, getting two-days of vaccination, with mobile vaccination sites set up at villages and schools with public meetings with parents starting early next week.

See Monday’s edition on more details on the positive cases as well as other information and the mass vaccination update.


On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and has named it Omicron. No cases of this variant have been identified in the U.S. to date.

CDC is following the details of this new variant, first reported to the WHO by South Africa. “We are grateful to the South African government and its scientists who have openly communicated with the global scientific community and continue to share information about this variant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC. ”

The CDC is working with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more about this variant, as we continue to monitor its path.

CDC is continuously monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country and expects Omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U.S.

The CDC recommends people follow prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, washing your hands frequently, and physically distancing from others. 

CDC also recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated.  CDC encourages a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for those who are eligible.  

The CDC will provide updates as more information becomes available.