Written by: Mary Ann Peck, Malaga Creations, Image from blogs.cdc.gov/global/
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted American Samoa differently than any other place on the planet. Our island did not document its first coronavirus case until 18 months after the pandemic began, and due to strict travel limitations and quarantine policies, American Samoa was able to keep the pandemic at bay until high amounts of our population were vaccinated.
However, the COVID-19 virus is now present on our island, and it is important that we all remain aware of the steps we can take to keep ourselves and the vulnerable populations within our community safe and healthy.
The Symptoms of COVID-19COVID-19 can present with a variety of symptoms. These symptoms may be less severe in a person who tests positive after being vaccinated. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
According to the World Health Organization, there is a long list of other symptoms you may experience during COVID. These symptoms include:
If you are presenting with these symptoms, you may want to be tested for COVID-19 so you can self-quarantine if needed. Additionally, if you are having difficulty breathing, if you have lost consciousness at any point, or if you have pain in your chest, you should seek medical attention at the hospital or a clinic.
COVID-19 ComplicationsIt is important to note that individuals with certain health conditions and seniors are at higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19. According to the CDC, people with any of the conditions listed on the CDC’s COVID-19 page are more likely to be hospitalized, require the use of a ventilator, or even die from COVID-19. Some of these conditions include:
If you have any of these conditions, or the others listed by the CDC, please reach out to the hospital or your local clinic if you suspect you have COVID-19.
How Does COVID-19 Effect Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence?According to UN Women, there has been an increase in domestic violence since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many reasons for this, including:
For those who live with their abusers, the social distancing and quarantine periods associated with COVID are a serious source of stress.
This has made the work of organizations such as the American Samoa Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence even more important. By providing survivors with information about community resources and hosting workshops focused on building resilience, the Alliance is able to help survivors on our island who were and are still impacted by COVID-19.
Local Resources for COVID-19 TreatmentThe American Samoa Department of Health continues to provide treatment and resources for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.
ASDOH clinics in Aunu’u, Amouli, Faagalu, Tafuna, and Leone all offer COVID-19 testing services for anyone who suspects they may be sick. If you test positive, the ASDOH can provide documentation of this, allowing you to work from home for 5 days.
The Department of Health also conducts follow-up appointments for those who test positive for COVID-19, and home visits are an option for those with limited mobility or other complicating factors.
While all ASDOH clinics conduct COVID-19 testing, further treatment through IV therapeutics is available exclusively at the Tafuna Clinic. The IV therapeutics available include:
Before taking these medications, be sure to talk with your doctor about possible drug interactions.
Prevention StrategiesCOVID-19 is still a major health issue, and it is important for our entire island community to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID and other diseases when possible.
If you are feeling unwell, there are several steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID, including:
By taking these steps, you can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in American Samoa.
Coming Together as a Community While the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, this disease still has an impact on our community. The stress associated with sickness, quarantine, and recovery weighs on many people.
If you are in American Samoa and you are struggling with COVID-19 related stresses, there are resources available to you within our community, including:
Whether you are seeking psychiatric medication, therapy, or community programs focused on building resilience, there are options on island that can help you to recover from the effects that COVID-19 has had on your life.
Written by staff or Alliance Partners