Latest DoH advisory: it moves to strengthen quarantine directive
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a new health advisory issued Tuesday and released that evening, the Health Department outlined information for those who are home quarantined and encouraged village leaders to identify a centralized facility for quarantine to limit the spread of the COVID-19 should it become present in the territory.
The advisory signed by Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua, reiterated that all travelers entering American Samoa are subject to home quarantine or full quarantine, according to Public Health Requirements. (At this point all inbound air traffic is closed.)
For “home quarantine”, DoH recommends that families choose a separate room and bathroom or a separate home for quarantine. Additionally, a traveler MUST be isolated from the rest of the family in the household for 14 days or more.
Upon completion of the 14-day quarantine period, the traveler must call the Health Hotline for a medical clearance certificate. Furthermore, people need to disinfect all commonly used surfaces at all times.
DoH reiterated for the public not to go to the LBJ Medical Center emergency room or a DoH clinic without first calling the DoH hotline 633-5871/5872. Use the same number as soon as you feel symptoms of COVID-19.
“DO NOT use public transportation — Aiga buses — to go to ER or a health center,” DoH emphasized.
DoH “strongly encourages village leaders and mayors to identify a quarantine centralized facility to provide support in the event of the spread of COVID-19,” according to the advisory, which explained that by identifying these village quarantine facilities, Public Health will be able to centralize screening services to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
For “full quarantine”, DoH explained that this is based on the discretion of a health physician based on the “travel risk categories” for COVID-19, after which travelers may be quarantined for 14 days or more, without notice.
DoH emphasized that travelers who fail to comply with the quarantine requirements will be prosecuted for a class A Misdemeanor under local law.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, through his executive order issued last week, gave police the authority to enforce the COVID-19 emergency declaration as well as the executive order. It also directed the Attorney General to fully prosecute violators including those who violate quarantine requirements.
Meanwhile, DoH reinforced the following:
• No public mass gatherings until further notice, DPS will enforce
• All businesses and public transportation will operate from 6am- 6pm, exception will be for buses and restaurants serving StarKist employees.
• Social distancing methods are to be encouraged such as video conferencing, phone calls, emails for communication.
• All public transportation owners are advised to thoroughly disinfect buses/ taxies after each trip daily.
ASG Commerce Commission, which regulates public transportation, in a notice Mar. 20th outlined “mandatory actions” for all drivers for aiga buses and taxis under Code Blue threat level.
Drivers must wear masks; have hand sanitizer for personal use; buses and taxis to be wiped down after every trip for buses and every fare for taxi; and avoid person-to-person contact by providing a container for passengers to drop in their fares.
The Commission recommends drivers use latex or some kind of protective gloves.
Samoa News has observed many drivers of public transportation not wearing masks in the past several days.
Under the governor’s 2nd amendment to the emergency declaration, all buses and taxis — during hours of operations — must institute social distancing practices. Each bus and taxi may only operate at half the seating capacity.
Except for the public transportation for the canneries, the rest are restricted to operating hours of 6a.m to 6p.m.