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Looking back at 2022 — American Samoa's COVID-19 journey

July covid count

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Each of us has a story to tell about what was important in our life this past year.  But the event we all have in common is COVID-19. This year Samoa News is looking back at the pandemic and how it changed our lives keeping us further apart with social distancing while drawing us closer together as we experienced either personally or through loved ones — living life ‘on the rock’ with COVID in 2022.

Hands down — American Samoa’s top news story for 2022 was undoubtedly the arrival of community spread Feb. 21, 2022 — it changed everything as we knew it in the territory.

In 2022, COVID was touted as the pandemic of the unvaccinated and as we head into 2023 it’s now being termed the pandemic of the elderly. Here are the headlines that got us to where we are today.


Territory counts 18 imported COVID cases — still no community spread

DoH: 76.9% of eligible population is fully vaccinated

Samoa extends lockdown after frontline workers test positive

ASG’s 9 repat flights brought home 1839 residents costing $20+ million

OSHA “strongly encourages” vaccination of workers


Dr. Tufa questioned about the possibility of community spread

Full vax for ages 5 and older now required for entry into the territory

LBJ assures Senators they have a COVID response-plan in place

The Elephant in the Room: COVID-19 is here to stay

Enough is enough,” Mauga declares about unruly quarantine travelers

Am Samoa under CODE RED — DoH reports COVID community spread

Essential services only permitted during Code Red declaration

Health Dept. reveals little about staffer who tested positive for COVID

Schools now operating under Remote Learning Plan

Emergency flights only authorized for Manu’a

200+ from Feb. 17 flight are currently in quarantine

Amata: “We can walk this path together, under the watchful eyes of God”

Instances of alleged price gouging multiply across the territory

Governor extends Code Red another week to retard COVID spread

ASG working to return local residents stranded in Samoa


Positive COVID cases stand at 85 — reported from in 15 villages

Gov calls for vaccination updates from agencies and departments

Surge in vaccinations depletes vax supply, new shipment Friday

People refusing to wear face-masks present problems for retailers

Governor confirms Code Red in effect for another week — until March 8

Hordes of people descend on vax sites to get their booster shot

FEMA and other federal officials expected on charter flight today

Task Force focus is now to “help us live safely with COVID”

Four people hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms  

Operating hours for essential businesses extended to 6p.m.

Local pro-vaxers and anti-vaxers dig in to their positions

COVID puts the Flag Day celebration in doubt

CDC praises American Samoan people’s COVID response — so far

COVID continues community spread with two at StarKist testing positive

Essential businesses may now be open to the public up to 8p.m.

Samoa going into lockdown after community transmission confirmed

TALOFAPASS system a “waste of money and time” according to one faipule

Supervised quarantine back on for travelers on next Hawaiian Air flight

Inmates say COVID is circulating in TCF but no treatment is provided

Predictions assess COVID surge will peak late March to early April

Gov Lemanu announces first COVID death in the territory

DOH provides protocols for at home COVID test kits

Dept. of Health reports second COVID-related death

COVID cases spread to Juvenile Detention Center – 4 youth test positive

Some ASG employees get paid and some don’t during COVID restrictions

3rd COVID related death reported; surge expected to peak this week

Manu’a teachers have raised concerns about reopening in class learning

4th COVID related death in latest Health Dept. release

First COVID-related death recorded in Samoa


COVID deaths now stand at 8 in latest task force release

DoH readies preparations for surge in hospitalizations

Two more COVID related deaths bring the total to 10

FEMA continues reimbursement of funeral expenses for COVID victims

One new COVID related death reported while positive counts decrease

Overworked — without overtime or hazard pay — nurses plead for help

COVID deaths stand at 17 after previously unreported deaths counted

A 75-year old male is the latest victim of COVID-19

Proof of vax or negative test required for entrance into govt buildings

Fortunately still no COVID at Manu’a but one more death on Tutuila

Latest COVID related death brings total to 20

The world yearns for the hope of the Easter message

A very short Flag Day ceremony focuses on Con-Con

Gas prices exceeding $5 per gallon

LBJ ready to compromise on morgue policy as one more death reported

No roll-out date yet for second booster shot

Unvaccinated man latest COVID victim; total reported deaths now 24

64th day since COVID community spread confirmed

Despite eased restrictions still no indoor dining at local eateries

Task Force COVID report brings death toll to 26

Manu’a no longer Covid-19 free after 6 people test positive


Newer BA.2 variant detected in the territory

Death count reaches 27 on latest Task Force COVID report

Lt. Gov. details requirements for indoor dining at local restaurants

ASG moves ahead to control community spread in Manu’a

Latest COVID task force briefing reports 28th death, 109 active cases

Analysis of COVID mortality shows 75% in poor health prior to infection

Shoppers claim govt isn’t reflecting ‘real picture’ on food prices

Genomic sequencing confirms the presence of BA.2 variant

Local inflation expected to remain in the ‘double digits’ for most of 2022

Inter Samoa flights are now scheduled 3 days a week

LBJ reports on new COVID-related death brings total to 30

1 Million COVID deaths memorialized as flags lowered

Dine in service allowed once eateries gain Task Force approval

Morbid obesity deemed instrumental in COVID deaths of those under 50

Changes in testing and vax mandates coming up for travelers from US

Parent group protests, calling out to govt to reconsider vaccine mandates

Emergency declaration eases curfew and biz restrictions — BINGO back

Gov Lemanu confirms testing positive for COVID, he is asymptomatic


Lt. Gov. says we’re on the road to ‘normality’ as COVID wanes

Gov’t moving yet again to another phase of COVID operation

Gov reemphasizes mandatory TALOFAPass registration for entry

COVID related death count for territory remains at 31 as spread slows

All biz restrictions and curfews lifted in latest emergency declaration


Latest COVID advisory reiterates and updates travel guidelines

Positive COVID cases climbing again as one additional death reported

Gov supports continuing “TALOFAPass” despite public concerns

Waivers required for travelers to the territory requesting vax exemption

Governor praises local and federal response in combating COVID

Several faipule speak up agreeing with public — end TALOFAPass

Task Force reports Olosega Island is no longer COVID-free

DoH lays out options to fight a second COVID surge

One more COVID-19 related death reported by LBJ Hospital

Lt Gov confirms testing positive after Manu’a trip

Healthcare community continues to call for masking and social distancing

Take heed American Samoa — COVID is still here!

Health director alarms staff by working while “slightly positive” for COVID

Social distancing required for in-person classes at all schools


All COVID testing and treatment now available at DoH clinics only

DoH lays out plan for $20 million in ARPA funding allocated for healthcare

Territory’s second COVID wave decreases as DoH turns to monkeypox

Another COVID related death brings territory’s total to 34

Some faipule and a non-profit group want the TALOFAPass ended

DoH looks to up number of passengers on Lady Naomi voyages

Governor says there will be a govt Christmas program this year

Feds begin review of COVID-19 grant spending by the insular areas

DoH report: COVID numbers continue to decline

Travelers testing positive still required to isolate

LBj downgrades hospital’s COVID response level to Code Yellow

No more COVID vax mandate for govt workers or students

Immigration chair casts doubts on continued usefulness of TALOFAPass


Number of COVID positives remain virtually steady — in low double digits

DoH ends pre-travel testing requirement for travel to Apia

COVID-19 tests for arriving travelers discontinued

Samoa opens up its international travel — looking to stoke the economy

Confirmed COVID cases drop to single digit level this past week

Emergency Declaration imposes strict limits for entry to Am Samoa

COVID task force reports only 3 positive COVID cases detected


COVID infections remain low, just 3 new cases reported from last week

Repurposing TALOFAPass discussed at task force meeting

TALOFAPass registration and full vaxing remain required for entry

Husband’s business “irrelevant to TALOFAPass,” Tofoitaufa tells SSIC


Repurposing TALOFAPass and ending vax requirement set for Nov. 15

No new COVID cases detected in territory for first time since February

Vaccination and pre-approval for entry to Am Samoa no longer required

TALOFAPass repurposed to American Samoa Traveler Declaration portal

Good-bye TALOFAPass; Hello Immigration hurdles

Masking reinstated at LBJ after uptick in respiratory cases

Task force recommends reopening territory to cruise ships in 2023


COVID-19 Emergency Declaration lifted after more than 2 years

Work to start on the COVID task force annual report

Am Samoa plans to welcome back the world beginning New Years Day

DoH ends paper version of Traveler Declaration form beginning Jan 1

COVID Task Force is looking to officially end it’s work in mid-January


May we count our blessings as we head into 2023 that the pandemic has faded from our everyday lives and pray for a safe, healthy and Happy New Year in the months to come.