Eight suspected coronavirus cases in Samoa

Eight people in Samoa are now suspected of having the coronavirus and are being quarantined while awaiting the results of laboratory testing in New Zealand.

Each of the eight cases has travel history or contact with someone who traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji or Spain and has had flu-like symptoms since arriving in Samoa, a Government media release said on Saturday afternoon. 

All eight are in isolation and the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) is monitoring their symptoms for further signs of the virus also known as C.O.V.I.D.-19. 

Test results from New Zealand should be known in three to five days, the Government has said.

It is understood some of the patients were brought to the Ministry of Health’s attention by private doctors as well as doctors working in the public system.

“The Ministry is presently following up all persons who came into contact with these patients for medical examination to determine if they need to be isolated,” the Government statement said.

“They will also be interviewed to find out who they have also been in contact with recently. This process is called contact tracing and it helps the Ministry to manage and stop the spread of diseases."

On Wednesday, the Government announced it had one suspected case being treated in Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital and had sent samples to New Zealand for testing. 

The Government has not specified when the additional seven cases were reported to M.O.H, writing only that “as of close of day yesterday” (Friday) there were eight suspected cases “being investigated for C.O.V.I.D.-19.”

“We encourage all persons who have traveled or transited through countries affected by C.O.V.I.D.-19 to monitor themselves for the development of fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms please contact the Ministry of Health C.O.V.I.D.-19 call centre or a doctor for advice.”

A coronavirus call centre has been established to take calls from the public. The numbers are: toll free number 800 6440, and 21183, 21176, 21173, 22914, 22241 and 24402.

M.O.H. has the following recommendations for minimising the risk of widespread transmission of C.O.V.I.D.-19:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and clean water or alcohol-based hand-rub.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it into a bin and wash your hands after.
  • Wear a mask only if you are a sick patient in the hospital, or a healthcare professional working directly with a patient.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Call a healthcare provider if you feel sick for medical advice
  • Avoid unnecessary travel
  • Avoid mass gatherings and keep a distance of 1 meter from people with flulike symptoms.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces (i.e. door knobs, counters, phones).
  • Avoid unnecessary visits to hospital, limit family visits to hospital to 1 person, and keep children under age 19 away from hospital
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