Suspected coronavirus cases hit twenty six

The number of suspected cases of coronavirus in Samoa has increased to twenty-six. This is according to the latest update from the Ministry of Health issued on Monday evening.

The update confirms that there is still no positive case of COVID19 on the island. But of 26 suspected cases, twenty of the samples tested have come back negative.

The remaining six, including a Samoa Airways flight attendant, are at the lab at Tupua Tamasese Hospital, “awaiting transport” to New Zealand for testing.

Last week, the Ministry of Health’s Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, said they were looking to use 500 test kits donated by China for the tests in Samoa.

He did not say when those test kits would arrive.

The following is the update from the Ministry of Health in full:

 As of 4:00pm 30th March, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Samoa. We continue to provide care for all patients who need it, and are prepared to provide care for those who may become infected with COVID-19.

At the time of this update, 4pm, 30 March 2020, we can report the following:

1.)     Number of samples sent for COVID-19 testing: 26

2.)     Number of samples tested positive: ZERO

3.)     Number of samples tested NEGATIVE: 20

4.)     Number of outstanding tests: 6 (these samples are awaiting transport)

Currently, one patient is in isolation at TTM Hospital under investigation.

Tests are done for people with fever and flu-like symptoms with a recent travel in the past 14 days overseas, reported through active surveillance. We are undertaking active surveillance to detect cases of COVID-19 in Samoa early. We will update the public regularly on the number of people meeting the criteria for COVID-19 testing and their test results.

We encourage all persons who have travelled or transited through countries affected by COVID-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 COVID-19 call centre or a doctor for advice.

Additionally, please self-isolate at home. That is to stay in a separate room from family members and use separate eating and drinking utensils.

The Ministry of Health is taking full precautions and preventive measures, to control the transmission of COVID-19, including preparing the health system to treat and care for our patients. The public also needs to do its part to protect Samoa:

We are all at risk for COVID-19, especially persons 60 years and over with underlying health conditions. Let’s be kind to each other.

  1. Wash your hands regularly with soap and clean water or alcohol-based hand rub (Sanitizer). 
  2. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it into a bin and wash your hands after.  
  3. Wear a mask only if you are a sick patient in the hospital, or a healthcare professional working directly with a patient.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth 
  5. Call a healthcare provider if you feel sick for medical advice
  6. Avoid unnecessary travel
  7. Avoid mass gatherings and keep a distance of 1 meter from people with flu-like symptoms (SOCIAL DISTANCING).
  8. Clean frequently touched surfaces (i.e. door knobs, counters, phones).  
  9. Avoid UNECCESSARY visits to hospital, limit family visits to hospital to 1 person, and keep children under age 19 away from hospital
  10. Smoking is a risk factor for COVID-19 transmission and complications
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