Covid impacts Marshallese in US

A sobering group of photographs were posted by Springdale, Arkansas resident and poultry worker advocate Albious Latior last weekend. His short commentary brought the sad news home: “The Covid-19 did hit us real hard. Five rows (of graves) of Marshallese in Friendship Cemetery. Our prayers everyday is that we will overcome this pandemic…We lost 47 of our community members of Covid-19.”
Photo: Albious Latior.

The first Marshallese has died of coronavirus in Hawaii, according to a report issued by the RMI Consulate in Hawaii last month.

The report contained information on Covid-19 infections specific to the Marshallese community in Hawaii, prevention activities of the Consulate and the local community, and information on the overall Covid-19 situation in Hawaii.

Up until this report from Hawaii, the nearly 100 reported deaths of Marshallese from Covid-19 had occurred in the US mainland, mainly in Springdale, Arkansas. The number of Marshallese deaths in Springdale is listed as 46 or 47, depending on the source.

For over a month, there have been no additional deaths from Covid-19 in Springdale, according to reports from the RMI Consulate and those engaged in Covid-19 prevention and aid work in the area.

A group of 15 people were scheduled to depart Honolulu for Kwajalein September 29 on the weekly military flight to US Army Garrison — Kwajalein Atoll. But one intending passenger and her infant will not be among the group.

This is because the Marshallese woman and her infant both tested positive for Covid-19 while in quarantine last weekend and will not be making the weekly repatriation flight, according to the Ministry of Health and Human Services, which tracks the number of people being repatriated through USAG-KA.

Through September 22, 217 people had been repatriated with 44 still in quarantine as of Monday this week. A total of 165 USAG-KA workers had been released following the 21-day quarantine and multiple Covid-19 tests that were negative. Eight non-USAG-KA workers have successfully completed the quarantine at the Army base and been released.

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