Repurposing TALOFAPass discussed at task force meeting
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In addition to repurposing the ASG online safe travel portal of the TALOFAPass web-system, which screens people entering American Samoa, the Health Department is also recommending removing the full vaccination COVID-19 mandate for travelers entering the territory, according to a DoH presentation during Tuesday’s COVID-19 Task Force meeting.
DoH recommends the TALOFAPass be used to monitor health symptoms of travelers coming into the territory, who would upload their health declaration form and other information, through the TALOFAPass traveler/ declaration system.
The Health Declaration Form would be completed 24-hours prior to travel where the passenger would declare if he/ she has symptoms such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.
Additionally, a DoH physician would review travelers with positive symptoms and the medial team would conduct communicable disease surveillance.
DoH had first recommended entire suspension of the TALOFAPass system, during the task force meeting two weeks ago, and it was reiterated during this week’s briefing, to suspend the portal system by Nov. 01 this year.
The recommendation came from the DoH medical team as well as LBJ Medical Center physicians, but no final decision has been made yet on the fate of the TALOFAPass, which has been the subject of criticism — both locally and off-island — as well as through a peaceful public protest in the territory.
As of this week, travelers entering the territory are still required to register on TALOFAPass and the full vaccination mandate remains in place as an entry requirement in accordance with the governor’s current COVID-19 Emergency Declaration which expires Oct. 24.
A new declaration will be issued by the governor prior to expiration of the current one and should provide an update on the TalofaPass as well as fully vaccinated travelers.
Meanwhile, the DoH report shows the passenger count for incoming and outgoing Hawaiian Airlines flights for Oct. 13 and Oct. 17: with a total of 445 incoming passengers and 465 for outgoing passengers. Hawaiian Airlines currently operates on Mondays and Thursdays.
The number of positive cases from the community spread of COVID remains at single digit in the past weeks, and the DoH Situational Report for the week of Oct. 10 to Oct. 16 shows two new positive cases from the 18 individuals who were tested at DoH laboratory and LBJ Medical Center.
With the two new positives, total cumulative COVID-19 count stands at 8,253 since the first community case was recorded on Feb. 28, while the number of active cases remains at single-digits, at only 3.
The DoH report also shows that COVID-19 related deaths remain at 34, which has been the case for the past several weeks, since the first death relating to the deadly virus was recorded in March. And the cumulative count of COVID related deaths was also confirmed by the LBJ report to the task force.
LBJ also reports that COVID testing for entering into the facility remains suspended and testing is only done for symptomatic individuals — as directed by a physician. Additionally, masking outside and inside the hospital is “optional” and social distancing inside the hospital “will be monitored”.