Update: Local man is virus free after crew members test positive
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is reporting six crew members of the Pride of America cruise ship, which is docked at Honolulu Harbor, have tested positive for coronavirus, according to state transportation officials.
Two of the crewmembers have been hospitalized and four are in isolation on the ship, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said Tuesday.
Samoa News reached out to crewmember Jake Tagaloa who is a Fagasa native.
Jake is a firefighter on ‘The Pride of America” and is the only Samoan on the ship. [SN file photo]
“Sad as it is, we have two crew members in critical condition at the local hospital [in Honolulu] right now. A few of our crewmembers tested positive and those with symptoms have been placed in isolation. The captain is taking every step and protocol in place to contain the virus," Tagaloa told Samoa News in an email message received Thursday.
He said he hopes our island is taking the pandemic as seriously as possible after witnessing first hand what the coronavirus can do.
“I really really want to come back home right now. We are trying our very best to disembark as many crew as we can not only so they can see their families but also for their safety and health. I myself cannot leave the ship as … no one can come back on board to relieve me of my duties.”
Then he told us about his own situation. “With the shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) worldwide right now, I am only allowed one surgical mask a shift, and my N95 mask is supposed to last me until ‘it is visibly soiled’ I walk out of my COVID-19 rule out of work and I wash my paper mask with bleach wipes. I take my shoes off at work before I even get in to my room to prevent any contamination that I might bring to my room with me. I shower and wash my hair daily as soon as I get to my room from work. I self-quarantine myself from the rest of everyone on the ship so that I am not unknowingly infecting someone due to my exposures at work. I practiced as many self-care rituals as I can to help maintain my own health so that I am available to serve everybody when they need it and plus I REALLY REALLY WANT TO SEE MY FAMILY as soon as this monster is destroyed.”
And he sent this plea to the people of American Samoa. “To my people of American Samoa, please understand why our local police department enforces the observation of “SOCIAL DISTANCING“. Please understand why our Governor takes a huge step of not only putting a hold on to incoming flights as well as banning huge gatherings. 1% of confirmed cases can take our whole island down!It’s a burden for me to stay and live my life every single day on the ship with a 100% chance that I might contract the virus unknowingly. Please take this pandemic seriously.”
God bless you Jake, American Samoa is praying for you.
UPDATE FROM JAKE
To clarify Jake wrote to Samoa News on Saturday, "Sorry that i didn’t clarify a little bit on what i meant by the only Samoan on the ship. I'm the only Samoan from back home. We have 3 other Samoans but they are Honolulu home based. Anyway my two Samoan usos are doing great. They both run the engine room. Without them this ship wouldn’t be running. One other Samoan is a girl and she’s a butler. She was in isolation a few weeks back and she’s recovering strong and healthy. A little update from our two crew in the hospital. They are recovering and responding pretty well. Thanks for the post. I saw it and hopefully our people will take advantage of it. People are asking why us Samoans still healthy and strong. We told them that because we have our people back home praying for us!"