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Sudden rise in Covid 19 cases causes concern

By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua

The number of weekly positive cases in American Samoa have increased in the past 7 days. A report from the Department of Health shows the total number of positive cases recorded last week was 317, an alarming increase, says Dr Elizabeth Lauvao. During her usual update to the Covid Taskforce meeting this week, Dr Lauvao said our people must remain vigilant.

She said DOH will continue to tighten the discipline of implementing the health protocols. Lauvao told the meeting although this number is not high compared to the total population of American Samoa with the number of cases, which, for the last two months, had been kept below 50 this is an alarm that needs to be watched out for. Dr Lauvao could not identify where the new cases are concentrated however she said the way to control this virus is the same, whatever the variant.

It simply will not spread if we avoid close contact with others. Wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance from others, and reduce your social contacts. "By working together, we have tackled this virus before. By holding the line over the next few weeks, it is possible we can do so again as we continue to roll out the vaccine to the most vulnerable", said Lauvao Dr Lauvao was unable to confirm if the Taskforce is planning to enforce restrictions in the near future given the current situation.

The COVID-19 Taskforce reminds our people of measures that needs to be intensified to prevent an increase in cases. The measures include early case detection through testing, protection of vulnerable groups through COVID-19 vaccination, intensive monitoring of patients, and application of the health protocols."The most important thing is to continue to be disciplined in wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining distance." said Lauvao. BA.2, a subvariant of Omicron, now accounts for most COVID-19 cases in the Territory. The latest report from DOH shows 84% of the population are fully vaccinated and 89% with at least 1 dose.

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