Military flight brings PPE, medical corpsmen — and Lt. Gov. Lemanu
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Besides bringing in more personal protective equipment (PPE), a military flight last Friday also brought along members of the US Army Medical Corps as well as Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga who had been stranded in Honolulu since March.
The four-member Medical Corps personnel being dispatched to the territory between May 7 and 8th, was first mentioned in two ASG coronavirus task force meetings last month.
Responding to Samoa News inquiries, task force chairman Iulogologo Joseph Pereira said the military flight last Friday brought four Medical Corps personnel — two are assigned to the Health Department and the other two to LBJ Medical Center to assist with the testing tasks.
He explained that the team brought down their own testing machine — the Abbott machine, which is the same type of machine currently used by DoH for coronavirus testing.
However, the team didn’t bring down any testing kits of their own, “so they will be utilizing our test kit supplies,” Iulogologo said yesterday, noting that with the presence of these Medical Corps personnel, the “number of tests we will be able to conduct will increase.”
“More important is the training that will be provided for our laboratory technicians and medical personnel dealing with COVID-19 issues,” he pointed out.
Also on last Friday’s military plane were two US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials and a representative of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Iulogologo said the CDC monitoring staffer — the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kalilimoku Hunt of Auto village (on the eastern side of Tutuila) — has been assigned to DOH to oversee CDC issues.
There were also more PPE supplies from the federal government on the flight and the supplies go to the Office of Procurement to be inventoried and distributed based on the list approved by the Governor, he said.
(During a task force meeting on May 3rd, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga stressed that all PPE supplies must be transferred first to the Procurement Office to be inventoried before any of the supplies are distributed. He said this ensures there’s accounting of all the supplies.)
Lemanu was also on the military plane, after being stranded in Honolulu since early March when Hawaiian Airlines flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago were suspended following a request from the governor. In accordance with local restrictions for travelers from off island, Lemanu is self quarantining at home for 14-days.