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No explanation why 6 travelers from Hawaii not tested for COVID

Dept. of Health logo

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Six passengers who traveled on Monday night’s Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu were not tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at Pago Pago International Airport, says Health Department Clinical Service director, Dr. Elizabeth Lauvao in an email update to the local media late Tuesday afternoon.

No information was available at press time as to the reason for these travelers not being tested, but Dr. Lauvao said this matter has been referred to the offices of the Attorney General and the Territorial Coordinating Officer (TCO) for review.

(Samoa News notes that the TCO is Samana Semo Ve’ave’a, who is also director of the local Dept, of Homeland Security.)

Dr. Lauvao also said that there were 170 passengers on the Monday night flight and 164 were tested for COVID-19 upon arrival. The results came back with 158 passengers who tested negative while six tested positive. 

Under current protocol, travelers who test positive are isolated at a DoH facility for 5 days and released to home isolation for another 5-days. Those who test negative are released to go home and only required to check in to ASG’s TalofaPass web-system 5-days after arrival.

Meanwhile, DoH is urging the community to “all stand together to support Breastfeeding for all mothers” during World Breastfeeding Week in American Samoa, this week.  And that support is: “At home, at church, at work and everywhere in the community.”

DOH is also gearing up to promote community awareness on the third week of August with details to be released next week.

According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breastfeeding is “an investment in health, not just a lifestyle decision.”

“Breastfeeding provides unmatched health benefits for babies and mothers. It is the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition, with breast milk uniquely tailored to meet the health needs of a growing baby,” says Dr. Dr. Ruth Petersen, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.

“We must do more to create supportive and safe environments for mothers who choose to breastfeed,” she said.