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Now more important than ever: Accurate info from health workers

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Many in quarantine say they’re not getting SLP food that was ‘promised’

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Many families in home quarantine are raising a lot of questions about the home isolation process and the complicated issues they’re facing. And now with the first death from the deadly disease reported, complete instructions are more important than ever. 

According to KHJ, chairman of the LBJ Tropical Medical Center Board, Dr. Malouamaua Tuiolosega said the 44 year old man who died of COVID on Tuesday had heart problems, a history of lung and kidney conditions, and was also obese. (More details as they are released to the media and the public.)

Meanwhile, some families are claiming that it’s been over a week since they went into home quarantine and they haven’t receive any free food deliveries, while two other families told Samoa News that their village pulenuu is using his own money to buy supplies for their families. Other family members in home quarantine are questioning the safety of other family members in the household and the limited information provided by health workers at the time of testing.

A family on the east side said their family has been quarantined for 28 days and they did not receive any meal delivery from the Department of Health (DoH). They pointed to the DoH director mentioning on the Task Force live conference every week that his staff is working together with the Department of Education (DOE) to deliver meals to every single family who are in home quarantine.

“They didn’t mention anything about free food deliveries when you test positive, nor did they mention anything about other household members — [that they] should be isolated too,” one family member said.

Some families have posted on social media what they’re going through during home quarantine and the fact that DoH has never showed up to deliver food for the family.

“Our pulenu’u called us on the first day of our home quarantine and asked if something was needed. I told him we need toothpaste, soap, Joy, toilet paper, paper towels and mostly water. Our pulenuu bought these things out of his [own] pocket,” the family posted on Facebook.

According to this family, they believe that is the reason why some family members, who are supposed to be quarantined, are showing up in public because they need supplies for their family — especially food. The DoH is not providing any food to these families, they say.

One family member, who is in home isolation this week, said she’s concerned about her family members because she was never told by health workers during the time she tested positive that her whole household should be home quarantined too.

“As a matter of fact they don’t even ask questions, such as, if anyone else in your family might be affected; how many in your household; no contact tracing or questions about where you might have been or even encouraging you to let people you have been in contact with know that you are positive. They just verify if you need treatment, sign that you have agreed to treatment and isolation and sent home,” the family member said.

A family in Pago Pago in home quarantine also confirmed to Samoa News that their neighbor bought them food supplies and other stuff their family needed. A family member said it’s been 10 days since their whole family went into home quarantine, after his wife tested positive, and ever since then, they have never received any free food delivery from the government.

During a House Education committee hearing this week, Department of Education (DOE) director, Talauega Dr. Samasoni Asaeli confirmed that DOE is supplying food for each family in home quarantine. The food is from the School Lunch Program (SLP).

Talauega stated that DOE sought approval from the USDA to use the food supply from the SLP due to the community spread of the virus and was given the green light to use the SLP supplies.

Talauega said that the decision was to use the food supply instead of it going to waste.