Still no confirmed COVID19 case in Samoa, suspected cases hit 31
There is still no positive case of the coronavirus in Samoa, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
But 11 suspected cases remain untested due to border lockdown restrictions. It means the samples from these suspected cases remain at the Moto’otua Hospital as the Government awaits the arrival of test kits.
It could not be ascertained when these kits will arrive although the Ministry confirms that tests using the GeneXpert machine at Motootua is at least three weeks away.
According to the latest update from the Ministry of Health, the total number of suspected cases in Samoa has risen to 31. There has been no new suspected case during the past three days.
Twenty of those cases have been cleared, after samples were tested in New Zealand.
“As of 9:00am 6th April, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Samoa,” the update reads. “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 the Ministry update, they confirmed that:
- All the 20 samples sent overseas (New Zealand) for testing came back negative
- Number of outstanding samples: 11 (these samples are awaiting transport on the next available flight)
“Samples were taken from people with fever and flu-like symptoms with a history of travel in the past 14 days overseas. For the past three days, NO NEW SAMPLES were taken,” the update said.
“Active surveillance for early detection of COVID-19 cases in Samoa is ongoing.
The public will be updated regularly on the number of people meeting the criteria for COVID-19 testing and their test results.
The rest of the Ministry of Health update reads:
Tests using the GeneXpert machine available at our laboratory at Motootua is anticipated within the next 3-4 weeks.
“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, contact the Ministry of Health COVID-19 call centre toll free hotline 800 6440 or your family doctor for advice.
“Please self-isolate at home if you have any form of flu-like symptoms. That is to stay in a separate room or house 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.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and clean water or alcohol-based hand rub (Sanitizer).
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it into a bin and wash your hands after.
- Avoid mass gatherings and keep a distance of 1 meter from people with flu-like symptoms (SOCIAL DISTANCING).
- Wear a mask at all times if you are a sick patient in the hospital, or a healthcare professional working directly with a patient.
- If you are sick, stay home and self-isolate.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Call a healthcare provider if you feel sick for medical advice
- Clean frequently touched surfaces (i.e. door knobs, counters, phones) with any household disinfectant.
- Avoid UNECCESSARY visits to hospital, limit family visits to hospital to 1 person, and keep children under age 19 away from hospital
- Avoid unnecessary travel
- Smoking is a risk factor for COVID-19 transmission and complications