U.S. missionary releases video after positive COVID-19 test

By Adel Fruean 20 March 2022, 7:44PM

An American missionary who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday to become Samoa’s first community case has released a video detailing her experiences over the last three days since her diagnosis.

Naila Tyner went on Facebook live at 4.57pm on Sunday (local time) confirming that she is now in quarantine and decided to “make a quick video” on her positive result and the public reaction to her health status, after her personal information was leaked and went viral on social media late Thursday last week.

“I tried to go home, I’m an American citizen and got a COVID test so I can get on the plane and tested positive,” Ms Tyner said in her video. “It was definitely a shock and…I was not expecting what happened.

“It took a minute to process and I knew immediately once when they told me I was positive what that would mean and how that would blow up.”

Ms Tyner said she spent some time last Thursday afternoon trying to process what had happened at the time she tested positive. 

“I really had to spend some time with the lord to get prepared for the backlash that I knew would happen,” she said. “And that’s exactly what happened but to be honest I’m grateful for God.

“I believe that his plan is…he works in mysterious ways so that we don’t always understand why he does what he does but at least we know that this island is not COVID free.”

In recent weeks the local authorities have been adamant there is no community transmission, following the detection of multiple positive COVID-19 cases from two separate flights, through a charter flight on 19 January from Australia and a repatriation flight from New Zealand early this month.

Testing positive last Thursday afternoon, the American missionary said due to her diagnosis, steps can now be taken to help people who test positive for COVID-19.

“And we can take the steps towards helping the people get positive stay isolated and get the care that they need, me included.

“I am still recovering…but no serious symptoms so far, all glory to Jehovah-Jireh.”

Following the leaking of her personal details, Ms Tyner has been subject to criticism on social media platforms, compelling others to jump to her defence.

She said in her Facebook live video that she appreciates the support and encouragement and emphasised that she did not bring the virus to Samoa.

“A lot of people are defending me, I’m really grateful for your support and encouragement; obviously I did not bring this virus into this island,” the American said. 

“I haven’t gone or been anywhere since COVID started but I appreciate that you guys are being supportive out there.

“Always remember, he [God] does these things so that we can really turn to him and wake up. 

“It's definitely a wakeup call to the whole world to take our relationship with him seriously – that is my perspective on it.

“It is also so disappointing to see some of the ways that information has been spread.”

Ms. Tyner also encouraged everyone to get their facts and go to the right platform to be informed, while expressing concerns about the coverage of her case by a local news organisation.

Turning to the frontline workers including nurses from the Ministry of Health, the U.S. missionary thanked them for their hard work monitoring all positive cases.

“I also want to thank the frontline workers and nurses they are working so hard, making sure that everyone that is positive is taking care of and also staying up all hours of the night, rotating and really just doing their best to make sure that this virus is contained.”


By Adel Fruean 20 March 2022, 7:44PM
Samoa Observer

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