PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 01-09-2021

Last Updated on 3 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Wednesday, 1st September 2021

Transmission Update

We have 290 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 128 cases are from the Western Division, 137 cases are from the Central Division and 25 cases are from the Eastern Division. A full breakdown of areas of interest will be published online tonight on the Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard. You will also be able to view the approximate locations of new cases, active cases, and recovered cases on the dashboard at the following link: http://bit.ly/3vE2ZBb

There are 25 new COVID-19 positive cases in Kadavu. This means there are now 257 active cases of COVID-19 in Kadavu. All these individuals have been isolated.

There have been 2,306 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 17,124 active cases. 6,182 active cases are in the Central Division, 10,680 active cases in the Western Division, 5 active cases in the Northern Division (Nabouwalu and Macuata), and 257 active cases in the Eastern Division (all in Kadavu). We are currently reviewing and reconciling our active case database with recoveries and as a result, we expect the recovery numbers to intermittently increase markedly as verifications are made.

There have been 46,936 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 47,006 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 29,067 recoveries.

Deaths

We have 8 new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period from the 27th August- 1st September 2021. Seven deaths were reported from the Western Division and one death was reported from the Central Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report is an 87-year-old man from Suva. He presented to the CWM hospital in severe respiratory distress.  He died 9 days after admission (30/08/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is a 56-year-old man from Tavua. He presented to the Tavua hospital in severe respiratory distress.  He died 8 days after admission (30/08/2021). He received the first dose of the vaccine in mid-July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is a 71-year-old woman from Lautoka. She presented to the Lautoka hospital in severe respiratory distress.  She died 11 days after admission (31/08/2021). She received the first dose of the vaccine in early June. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 67-year-old man from Tavua. He presented to the Tavua hospital in severe respiratory distress. A medical team from Tavua transferred him from the Tavua Hospital to the Lautoka hospital. Sadly, he died on the same day (30/08/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report is a 76-year-old woman from Nadi who died at home on 01/09/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The sixth COVID-19 death to report is a 65-year-old man from Nadi who died at home on 30/09/2021. He received the first dose of the vaccine in late July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

The seventh COVID-19 death to report is a 78-year-old man from Ba who died at home on 30/09/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The eighth COVID-19 death to report is a 46-year-old woman from Sigatoka. She presented to the Korolevu Health Center in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, she died on the same day (27/08/2021). She received the first dose of the vaccine in late July. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.

There have been 3 more deaths of COVID-19 positive patients. However, these deaths have been classified as non-COVID deaths by their doctors. The doctors have determined that these deaths were caused by a serious pre-existing medical condition and not COVID-19.

There have now been 504 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 502 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year. Please note that due to the time required by clinical teams to investigate, classify and report deaths, a 4-day interval is given to calculate the 7 day rolling average of deaths, based on the date of death, to help ensure the data collected is complete before the average is reported. Therefore, as of August 27th, the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 6. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 2 and in the Western Division is 4.

We also have recorded 311 COVID-19 positive patients who died from the serious medical conditions that they had before they contracted COVID-19; these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths.

Hospitalizations

There are currently 241 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 106 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 18 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 117 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 15 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 14 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 5,308 individuals were screened and 661 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 518,681 individuals screened and 89,437 swabbed to date. As of the 31st of August, our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1609 individuals and swabbed 353. This brings our cumulative total to 812,539 individuals screened and 71,995 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 333,386 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 376,247 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1435 tests have been reported for August 31st. The 7-day daily test average is 1384 tests per day or 1.6 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 8.8 tests per 1000 population, which remains above the WHO recommended level of 4 per 1000 population per week. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 23.9%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update 

As of the 31st of August, 560,336 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 275,072 have received their second doses. This means that 95.9% of the target population have received at least one dose and 47.6% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. As previously mentioned we are currently doing a mop-up exercise of our first dose campaign, which will allow us to specifically target communities with low coverage, and relook at certain subdivisions that are generating coverage rates beyond 100%. This will allow us to correct and update the total eligible population for our current vaccination program.

Fijians can check the Ministry’s vaccine dashboard to find real-time data on first-dose and second-dose numbers at the national, divisional, and sub-divisional levels. You can access the live dashboard at http://bit.ly/3h2JfCZ

Our digital COVID-19 Vaccination Registry securely verifies registrations in real-time using birth information from the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registry and the citizenship and permit information from the Department of Immigration. We believe in maintaining a digital registry because it is more secure and allows for easy access to vaccine information so that fully vaccinated members of the public can easily access their vaccine status.

In some instances, data was recorded manually. That data is currently being input into the digital registry through a rigorous process of data rectification.

While there is an understandable delay in uploading the manual record of vaccines to the digital registry, we have not found a case where a person’s vaccination record was not recorded digitally or manually.

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 323 cases per day or 365 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, daily case numbers in Suva-Nausori are currently not being used as the sole indicator to monitor the progress of the outbreak. The Ministry is closely monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalizations, and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak.

With the decrease in testing numbers, testing remains above the WHO recommended rate of 4 per 1000 population per week (or approx. 3500 tests per week). We will be transitioning to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.

With no new cases identified in the Nabouwalu containment area, the lockdown for the Nabouwalu containment area has been lifted.  The movement restriction in the Namara Tiri containment zone remains in force, and surveillance of the community, as well as follow-up of contacts, is ongoing. There are ongoing investigations and testings to verify the final number of contacts.

The health team with the support of the community engagement team are continuing their work in accessing all villages and communities in Kadavu. Given the clear evidence of community transmission on the island, we anticipate that the number of cases will escalate further together with the risk of severe disease and death.

While the two index cases at Cobi village in Malolo Island have been recovered and cleared by the Health team, there are still 22 active cases in Vunabaka and 5 active cases in Solevu Village. Surveillance and testing continue at Vunibaka settlement and Solevu village and movement restriction remains in force for the whole island. There are now 27 active cases in Malolo, all of whom are linked to the 2 index cases.

Ongoing surveillance and testing on Naviti Island have identified ten more cases of COVID-19 with positive cases now noted in Somosomo village, Nasoqo settlement, Kese village, and Muara village. Gunu Village has also been identified as high risk and as such with the facilitation of the Assistant Roko for Yasawa, a health team will visit Gunu village tomorrow and conduct assessment and testing for contacts and symptomatic cases. The tests will need to be run at Lautoka hospital to confirm the number of cases of COVID-19 in the village. In the coming days, a whole-of-Government community engagement and response team is also planned to visit the villages and settlements in Naviti and Viwa Island to conduct surveillance and testing, awareness sessions, and attend to immediate health and social needs that will be identified during the visit.

Advice to the public

Severe COVID-19

People with severe COVID-19 are still dying at home, or are coming to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness. As mentioned by the Permanent Secretary today: 78% of COVID-19 deaths during this outbreak occurred at home, or on the way to the hospital, or within 2 days of hospital admission – giving no or little opportunity for our clinical teams to provide potentially life-saving treatment.

Severe COVID-19 is a medical emergency, and a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment reduces your chance of recovering from the disease. You are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 if you are over the age of 50 or have a non-communicable disease or chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, or if you are obese or pregnant.

If you are at high risk of severe disease and have any symptoms of COVID-19 such as a cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat, body ache, headache, loss of taste/smell – please come to your nearest screening clinic to be checked and tested by our medical teams.

We need also need all Fijians to know the severe symptoms of COVID-19, which include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Severe headache for a few days
  • New confusion, inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds

In Suva-Nausori we have identified health facilities specifically designated to receive people with symptoms of severe COVID-19. If you or a loved one live in Suva-Nausori and have any of these severe symptoms please go immediately to the designated health facilities listed below.

– Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH)

– FEMAT Hospital, Vodafone Arena

Individuals in Nausori with severe symptoms should go to:

– Nausori Health Centre

– Wainibokasi Hospital

In the Western Division, please go to your nearest healthcare facility if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Call 165 if you are unable to travel to a medical facility. 

The public in the North is being reminded that it is important that people throughout Vanua Levu listen to advice and continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures. While all the cases in the North are related to operations on the Nabouwalu jetty, and we have lifted restrictions in Nabouwalu,  the investigations are ongoing as regards the last 3 cases from the Namara Tiri Settlement near the township of Labasa. Furthermore, whilst border health measures at all ports have been strengthened, there will always be the risk of viral leakage into the community.  In this instance, vaccination with widespread covid safe measures remains the mainstay in preventing escalated community spread.

For the rest of Fiji, the public is requested to persist in the practice of COVID-19 safety measures of wearing a mask when leaving your home, washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer, practicing safe physical distancing of 2m, ensuring that the careFIJI app is downloaded on your phone and enabled and last but not least REMEMBER TO GET VACCINATED.