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American Samoa reports 1st COVID case as flights from Hawaii resume

Lab testing for COVID-19/FILE
Lab testing for COVID-19/FILE(None)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 7:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - American Samoa reported its first COVID case Friday after a traveler flying in from Hawaii tested positive while in quarantine.

The U.S. territory’s health department said the person flew in on Monday — the first day Hawaiian Airlines resumed flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago. Flights were previously suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Officials said the traveler, who is a resident of the territory, was fully vaccinated and had tested negative before boarding the flight.

American Samoa requires all travelers to be vaccinated and are required to take three COVID tests before arriving. Upon arrival, travelers must also undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

Officials said the person was in their third day of quarantine when they tested positive for the virus.

“The discovery of this positive case during quarantine highlights the importance of why our process is critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said the territory’s Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga in the news release. “It further highlights the importance of maintaining our current quarantine protocols.”

The infected person, who was asymptomatic, was among about 260 other passengers on the flight.

Health officials said no other positive cases have been reported so far and contact-tracing is underway as the other passengers remain in quarantine.

Following American Samoa’s COVID protocols, the infected person was transported to a government isolation facility.

As the situation continues to be monitored, officials urged those in American Samoa to remain calm and vigilant and to practice basic hygiene and follow social distancing.

All scheduled flights to American Samoa have been suspended until further notice.

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