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One more COVID-19 related death reported by LBJ Hospital

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Lt Gov confirms testing positive after Manu’a trip

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — LBJ Medical Center has reported a new COVID-19 related death, bringing the mortality tally to 33, since the first death relating to the deadly virus was documented in March this year, according to ASG officials present at Tuesday afternoon’s COVID-19 Task Force weekly briefing, where Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale confirmed that he has tested COVID positive.

The LBJ report was presented by Dr. Abraham Le’iato who announced the new COVID related death — an 81-year old female, with hypertension, and other health issues and had been at the hospital since June 30. She tested negative upon arrival and tested positive on July 10 and passed away on July 12.

The deceased was fully vaccinated but had no booster shots, said Dr. Le’iato, who pointed out that LBJ staff in close contact with the woman had all tested negative, according to ASG officials who attended the virtual task force briefing.

Dr. Le’iato also voiced his concerns on the positive rate in the last 24-hours with 472 tested and 27 confirmed positive at the hospital, with 16 treated for the same period. Additionally, there were nine COVID in-patients at the time, higher than from the previous week.

At the outset of the briefing, Talauega — who is also the Governor’s Authorized Representation (GAR) and task force chairman — announced that he and his son tested positive for COVID 19 upon arrival from Manu’a, on July 16.

Talauega — who was in Manu’a last week to attend the re-opening of the airport on Ofu island followed by the Manu’a Cession Day last Friday on Ta’u island — reminded task force members that COVID is still in the community and for everyone to stay vigilant, and mask up given that the new sub-variants of Omicron are now on islands.

The Health Department reported at last week’s briefing about the new Omicron sub-variants present in American Samoa from passengers who tested positive upon arrival from Honolulu recently.

 Lab specimens of positive cases were sent to Hawaii for genomic sequencing to identify the COVID omicron variants and the results were received on July 6. And it confirmed the new sub-variants of BA 4 and BA 5.1 — from travelers who arrived from Hawaii. The sequencing results also showed the other sub-variants now present on island: BA 2.12.1; BA 2.3; BA 1.1.9; and BA 2.18.

At this week’s task force briefing, DoH reiterated the sub-variants present in the territory as the department presented the COVID-19 Situational Report for the week of July 11 to July 17, which shows that of the 3,915 individuates testing at LBJ and DoH clinics during the week indicated — 317 came back positive.

For the previous week, July 4 to July 10, there were 344 from the 4,074 individuals tested at DoH clinics and the LBJ hospital.

The new positive cases bring American Samoa’s total cumulative count to 7,460 since the outbreak was first reported on Feb. 21 on Tutuila and 470 active cases as of July 17, according to DoH, which also noted the cumulative COVID related deaths at 33.

For Manu’a, the cumulative count since the outbreak was first reported there in April this year stands at 186 positives including 27 new cases reported for the week of July 11 to July 17. A majority of the new positives, a total of 14, were on Ofu island.


The DoH reports noted that of the 210 travelers on the July 15 Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu, 5 of them tested positive and were placed in isolation at the DoH supervised facility. For the Hawaiian Airlines flight this week Monday, July 18, a total of 129 travelers were tested and 10 were positives, who are now in isolation at the same DoH facility.

DoH also provided an updated summary of the number of incoming travelers currently in isolation at the ASG supervised facility. As of July 19 - Tuesday this week -  a total of 22 individuals are in isolation:

•           5 travelers from the July 15 Hawaiian Airlines and 4-close contact individuals from the same flight;

•           10 positives from the July 18 flight and 1 close contact from that flight; and

•           3 passengers who tested positive on July 18 flights from Apia.

In the meantime, 62 new COVID cases were recorded in Samoa for the period July 10-17.