Prepare, Prevent and Respond to COVID-19
This project supported through the CARES Act under the Family Violence & Prevention Services Act informing the community to prepare, prevent and respond to COVID-19
Written by: PROVISION
With Covid 19 variants on the rise, it’s important that we do our part. Get vaccinated, get boosted, wash your hands, social distance and mask up. Some businesses are not requiring masks, but if you feel sick or you’ve been around someone who has shown symptoms, mask up for those around you.
Infectious Disease Specialist, Mark Rupp, M.D. said, “The original omicron variant is gone now. Currently sub variants of omicron are circulating, including BA.4, BA.5 and BA.2.12.1.” The two newer omicron sub variants, BA.4 and BA.5 are increasing. “These variants ebb and flow across the country. Now it’s our turn to be dealing with BA.4 and BA. 5 as the situation evolves.”
The best way to prevent the new variants is to slow the spread of the virus. Once again, get a boosted, if you're eligible, get vaccinated, choose outdoor activities whenever possible, wash your hands, avoid close contact with others, wear a mask in public whenever possible and stay home if you're sick or have Covid 19 symptoms.
Specific findings from a CDC systematic review found that physical activity is associated with a decrease in Covid 19 hospitalizations and deaths, while being inactive increases the risks. Physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your health now and in the future.
People who sit less and engage in moderate to vigorous activity develop some healthy habits. Being physically active is important for your mental health, and can have immediate benefits for your mood while reducing anxiety.
Regular physical activity helps to reduce the risk of some chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Exercise can also improve sleep quality. Getting adequate sleep is not a luxury, it’s fundamental to good health. Emerging research also suggests physical activity may also boost immune function.
One in four adults is inactive, meaning that they don’t get any exercise outside of their regular job. Only about one in four adults and one in six high school students fully meets the physical activity guidelines. Being inactive contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths. Remember, any exercise is better than nothing at all. It's recommended to get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. That doesn’t mean all at one time, you can break it up to what fits your schedule. The main takeaway is get out and get active!
Image retrieved from: https://www.outsourcing-pharma.com/Article/2022/01/18/Pfizer-COVID-19-treatment-shows-promise-against-omicron-variant
CDC, C. D. C. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/physical-activity-and-COVID-19.html. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/physical-activity-and-COVID-19.html
Medicine, N. (2022).
What COVID-19 variants are going around in July 2022? Retrieved 2022, from https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/what-covid-19-variants-are-going-around-in-july-2022#:~:text=%22The%20original%20omicron%20variant%20is,Proportions%20on%20July%207%2C%202022.
Current Information regarding Covid-19 in American Samoa and the American Samoa Government DeclarationsRead Now
Photo from: Written by Sosefina Iose
Since June 21st of this year, there have been approximately 31 deaths related to the coronavirus, about 6,353 individuals in American Samoa who have contracted the virus, and 6,251 individuals have recovered from the coronavirus.
Acting Governor, Talauega Ale, is enforcing all of American Samoa to keep using their masks in enclosed settings and to remain a 6-feet distance from each other to lessen the possibilities of contracting the coronavirus.
This Declaration of the ongoing outbreak will not affect any village councils to enact regulations imposing curfews or restricting public gatherings. It is enforced that whoever violates any of the requirements will be punished by up to 12 months in jail or pay a fine of $1,000.
However, this is a note quoted from the declaration signed by Talauega E. V. Ale; “This Declaration will be effective June 27, 2022, and supersedes the Declaration dated May 27, 2022, and the amendments to that Declaration. It will be in effect for thirty (30) dates and expires on July 27, 2022. Exclusive authority for rendering all final decisions pertaining to the implementation of all prescribed mandates of this Emergency Declaration is vested in
the Governor of the Territory of American Samoa and the GAR. Dated: June 24, 2022”
Written by: Luana Yoshikawa-Scanlan, PRIME
During a pandemic, service providers can redirect social services and psychosocial support through online, phone, social distanced mechanisms. Several tools for communicating safety and reducing fear during pandemics were piloted prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Digital interventions have been confirmed to promote and enable safety behaviors (Decker, et al., 2020). Virtual interventions have been successfully tested to address gendered burdens and their impact specifically on women (Viveiros, et al., 2020).
A few surveys indicate that victims prefer guided online support and found web-based interventions ‘supportive and a motivation for action’ (Hegarty, et al., 2019, Jewkes, et al., 2020, Koziol-McLain, et al., 2018).
The following web-based applications can help victims establish safety: https://www.myplanapp.org/
myPlan – the app content, interface and implementation can be adapted for use in American Samoa. A study in Kenya demonstrated its high feasibility, and the acceptability of community-partnered technology-based safety planning interventions like this (Decker, et al, 2020). MyPlan has a ‘My Safety’ risk assessment section that converts responses to validated levels of exposure to danger. The ‘My Priorities’ section is an interactive visual aid to set priorities for safety – gauging importance between priorities such as privacy, severity of violence, wellbeing of children, social support etc. and emphasizes importance of safety and inclusiveness (Glass, et al., 2015, Decker, et al., 2020).
Written by: Luana Yoshikawa-Scanlan, MBA, PRIME. Photos from: (1) https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/face-mask-with-painkillers-royalty-free-image/1218077734?utm_medium=organic&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=iptcurl (2)
In addition to developing effective vaccines to protect us against the worst symptoms of COVID-19, amazing scientists created drugs to treat symptoms before they progress into life-threatening complications.
There are two types of drug treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA: Veklury or remdesivir, an antiviral drug, for adults and some children. Commonly known as remdesivir, this drug is delivered through intravenous therapy or an IV. The second is Olumiant which helps the adult immune system fight infection when hospitalized with COVID-19. These drugs are not substitutes for the COVID-19 vaccine, they simply provide additional support once you are infected and if you experience symptoms.
There are several additional treatments approved under the national Emergency Use Authorization for public health emergencies such as a surge of COVID-19 infections. Monoclonal antibody treatments for adults and children contain antibodies to fight infection. These come in pill form and IV therapy to reduce the risk of experiencing the most severe COVID symptoms.
Prevention treatments include Evusheld; bebtelovimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment; oral antiviral therapies include Lagevrio, Paxlovid, and Renal Paxlovid.
As of May 23, 2022, the following therapeutics were reportedly in stock at the LBJ Hospital*:
Bebtelovimab Paxlovid Lagevrio (molnupiravir) Evusheld
As of May 20, 2022, the following therapeutics were reportedly in stock at the Amouli Health Center*:
Bebtelovimab Paxlovid Lagevrio (molnupiravir)
If you test positive for COVID-19, by either a health worker or using an at-home kit, you may be eligible for treatment. Visit your doctor to report symptoms you are experiencing. Based on your medical history, symptoms, and health risks you may receive treatment, or it may be determined that you are healthy enough to fight off the disease without treatment. Most people experience mild, cold-like symptoms which go away on their own within days much like the common cold. Rest, lots of water, social distancing, and healthy foods support the immune system’s ability to fight the virus.
Again, treatment is not a substitute for vaccination. Vaccines protect you against severe symptoms that would put you in the hospital, and possible death. Treatments provide added support to the immune system to fight the virus.
Visit the Department of Health’s Facebook page for daily updates on test, vaccination, and treatment sites: https://www.facebook.com/americansamoadoh
or partner sites for more information: https://www.facebook.com/ACTASONEamericansamoa
Written by: Luana Yoshikawa-Scanlan, MBA, PRIME Consultant; Photo from: https://www.samoanews.com/features/thousands-take-part-samoa-mass-covid-19-vax-drive-photo-caption
First and foremost, victim services must be categorized ‘essential services’ by the local government to ensure access to the women’s shelter, court, and protection orders.
Secondly, advocates can organize community responses to stay-at-home orders:
The 2020 IPSOS Pub poll shows 1 in 5 Americans under age 35 sought professional counseling since the pandemic began which indicates a need to address the impact of social isolation among young people. Tools like the Daily Coping Toolkit (smartpatients.com) and the free COVID Coach app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.va.mobilehealth.ncptsd.covid&hl=en_US) focus on wellbeing in the face of COVID related environmental changes that impact mental health outcomes. Several domestic violence and mental health websites offer tools to apply ‘psychological first aid’ (PFA) to address health anxiety – stress directly resulting from COVID-19 and related impacts such as violence:
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pfa-mobile/id551079424 The free PFA Mobile app was designed by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs to assist first responders who provide psychological first aid or PFA. The app can be used by victim advocates and outreach workers.
The PFA Pocket Guide includes a day-to-day Stress Assessment and other exercises to understand self-care, the stress from caring for others, personal factors and support systems. https://www.globalfirstaidcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/19-0420PS-PFA_Pocket_Guide_2020_EN_FA.pdf
The ABCDE Handbook guides the lay-person in applying PFA in various crisis contexts. https://www.preventionweb.net/publications/view/67196
A Samoan Quarantine ChristmasRead Now
Written by: Kathy Fitisone, ASADSV Staff
After many months of closed borders followed by many months of exclusive repatriation flights, we have finally arrived at some sort of normalcy with flights to and from the mainland, albeit not as often or as regular as we are used to but nonetheless, the opportunity to travel exists. What still remains the same in our fight against COVID-19 is the process of quarantining for a certain period of time before being released out into the general population.
Because the flight schedules are not set in stone and because many possible outcomes could cause the duration of quarantine to be longer than normal, there is the possibility that you may have to spend Christmas in quarantine. Bah-humbug you may say. Stop being such a Grinch. Look on the bright side of things to have a holly, jolly, merry Christmas.
If you must be in quarantine during Christmas, we ask that you make the most of it. Be thankful you are home. Many people wish they could be home for the holidays; you are one step closer and we are excited to have you home!
American Samoa has been extremely fortunate to date to not have experienced the effects of COVID-19 encountered by so many countries throughout the world. We have seen our government leaders and various Government agencies at the forefront of this battle and they should be commended for putting procedures and policies in place that have allowed us to continue life as normal as possible with very minimal interruptions. We continue to ask everyone to adhere to the COVID-19 procedures of getting vaccinated and boosted, quarantining, social distancing, wearing a mask, and keeping hands and faces clean. Also keep abreast of updates from the CDC and the latest news regarding COVID-19. We as a community must continue to do our part – even if it means quarantining during Christmas.
Merry Quarantine Christmas and welcome home! Ia manuia le Kerisimasi, malo le malaga manuia mai!
Written by: PROVISION Media
With Covid-19 and the Delta Variant cases still on the rise, it’s important that we remain mindful during this holiday season and don’t let our guard down. Whether you are vaccinated or not, we can still enjoy the things we love and spend time with our loved ones, but we need to take extra precautions to keep everyone safe.
As we gather for the holidays, let us not forget that those 65 and older are at high risk, as well as those with underlying medical conditions; such as asthma, a weakened immune system, heart conditions, or diabetes. Here are some tips and guidance that can help:
Wear a mask at all times. If you go shopping, plan and pick a time to avoid large crowds. Keep your distance and make a list to do your best to stay on task. If possible, shop online.
If you have to travel take extra precautions by wearing your mask at all times, keeping your distance, minimizing contact with others, and always washing your hands.
During gatherings, try to plan for a smaller get-together with friends or family who live near you. Keep the area well ventilated and remember that being outdoors is always better than indoors. If you feel sick or have symptoms don’t host or attend any gatherings. Put a friendly sign on the door encouraging loved ones to refrain from kissing or hugging each other when greeting them. Remember, the main goal is to be safe with loved ones during the holidays.
The Samoan culture is very family-oriented and we love to have get-togethers, but we must do our best to keep our loved ones safe. Often when greeting someone, a kiss or hug is exchanged. Instead, try a simple hello with a nod of the head to try and show respect. Explain to them you want to keep them safe and would hate for them to get sick. Do your best to keep your distance, wash your hands, and if you don’t feel well, don’t attend. These things sound simple, but sometimes they are very hard to do because we don’t want to offend anyone. It’s crucial that with monthly flights now entering our territory, we be educated and help keep our friends and family safe. As simple as it may sound, it’s up to us to do our part. Remember the main goal, is to be with loved ones and to enjoy the holidays without worrying about getting anyone sick.
Photo retrieved from: https://www.ebay.com/itm/samoa-PAGO-PAGO-The-Gathering-Place-1920s-RPPC-Postcard-/233125885789?_ul=IL
Written by: PROVISION Media
On Friday, November 19, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control expanded the COVID-19 booster eligibility to include all adults. This clears the way for more Americans to get protection against the virus.
In the United States, infections have increased by 33 percent on average over the past few weeks, to 94,000 a day. The CDC’s decision landed just as Americans prepare to spend the holidays with family and friends, gatherings likely to accelerate the trend.
Faced with rising infections and the surge in holiday travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday endorsed booster shots of the coronavirus vaccines for all Americans over the age of 18.
Americans can now get their COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. As with the first round of vaccines, some people may experience a few mild to moderate flu-like symptoms after the shot.
Here are 5 Common Side Effects After Each Booster:
1. According to clinical trial data collected by Pfizer-BioNTech, the most commonly reported side effects after the booster shot were:
-Injection site pain
2. According to clinical trial data collected by Moderna, the most commonly reported side effects after the booster shot were:
-Injection site pain
3. According to clinical trial data collected by Johnson & Johnson, the most commonly reported side effects after the booster shot were:
-Injection site pain
Source: Johnson & Johnson /FDA
Anyone who has received their first two doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago is now eligible for the booster. Anyone who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago is now eligible.
Most people should get the booster shot once eligible, but everyone’s individual health is different. If you have questions or concerns, consult with your doctor before proceeding. Experts say, “It’s a low risk, high reward choice.”
The booster shots are available in American Samoa. Please contact the Department of Health (DOH) to find out the locations and times available. It’s up to us to make a change.
Written by: Kathy Fitisone, Asst Office Mgr, Alliance
American Samoa has been extremely fortunate that we have not experienced the raging effects of COVID that are being experienced throughout the world. We are thankful for all those on the frontline who have put systems in place to ensure the safety of our island population. While the processes and procedures in place are not one-hundred percent fool-proof, they have allowed us to repatriate our loved ones. They have allowed for minimal travel so that those wanting to come home and those needing to leave may have the option.
One of the processes currently in place upon arrival to American Samoa is quarantining for a pre-determined length. This is probably the most enduring part of the process. The traveler is in a state of limbo – home, but not yet home. It can be a source of frustration for those on either side of the fence. How can we help?
There are several ways to support the process. First and foremost, we must all abide by the established rules and procedures. Trying to circumnavigate the quarantine process could be detrimental to the well-being of the entire population. Stay away from the Quarantine Sites until Drop Off Days. Secondly, if you know someone in quarantine, let them know you are there to support them – call, message, video chat. See if there are things you can do for them that will help make the transition easier once they are released (maybe pay their phone bill or air out their house). It is not easy being isolated and alone, so a little love and kindness will definitely go a long way.
Keep abreast of what is happening in the community. The Department of Health is doing a great job disseminating important COVID-19 related information through various media outlets. Trust the process and know that those in charge have the best interest of the entire island at hand and at heart. Finally, remember to practice good hygiene – washing hands and using hand sanitizer, wearing masks where and when required, and practicing social distancing.
Written by Tina Tofaeono, PROVISION
Our island has been blessed to not have Covid or the Delta variant on our beautiful shores. The Department of Health continues to increase awareness regarding vaccination, and at least 59.9% of our total population has received at least one dose and 53.1% are fully vaccinated  With our borders closed we feel safe, but those countries who have opened borders are concerned with new variants. Currently, the Delta variant is the most prominent strain of Covid-19 and has been reported in 96 countries.
The symptoms of the Delta variant appear to be the same as Covid-19. However, doctors are seeing people getting sick quicker. Typically, vaccinated people who contract the Delta Variant are either asymptomatic or have very mild. Their symptoms are like those of a common cold, such as cough, fever, or headache with the addition of loss of smell. Unfortunately, the Lambda variant, which is out of South American is also emerging.
With the Delta variant sweeping across our nation some experts are recommending wearing masks, even if you are fully vaccinated. Health experts are urging people that want to get back to a “normal” lifestyle to get vaccinated. If people remain unvaccinated, new strains of the virus will continue to develop and cause problems. They’re also advising vaccinated people to avoid large gatherings and to mask up indoors where the vaccination status of others is unknown. This is to protect yourself as well as anyone that is not vaccinated because there’s still so much unknown about this variant. Vaccination is the best protection against the variant and the FDA approved the first vaccine earlier this week. The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, with a waiting period between the first and second shot. American Samoa has been offering vaccines, but we still have a long way to go.
Remember to protect yourself and your loved ones by having clean hands, wearing a mask (that covers your nose and your mouth at the same time), and that your hands are clean when putting on and taking off your mask. If you’re using a cloth mask, make sure to wash it regularly and dispose of any disposable face masks and continue to practice social distancing.
“If it is sunny out, people put sunscreen on as a precaution. If you are at a crowded gathering, potentially with unvaccinated people, put your mask on and keep your distance.” Says Dr. Yildirim.
Although we do not have COVID in our territory, we must act as if we do. It is up to us to do our part. We are a close-knit community, dedicated to our families and love for our villages and our churches. It’s common for us to greet one another with a kiss or a hug, but we need to be careful during this time. A simple head nod with a smile or even an elbow bump will have to do, during these changing times. This virus has taken many loved ones and like everything in life, this is an ongoing risk.
 First regular HA flight postponed—rescheduled Sept. 13—maybe. (Samoa News, 2021). Retrieved: https://www.samoanews.com/local-news/first-regular-ha-flight-postponed-rescheduled-sept-13-maybe