PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 02-10-2021

Last Updated on 2 weeks by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Saturday 02nd October 2021

Transmission Update

We have 38 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 20 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,875 active cases. There have been 51,098 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 51,168 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 37,168 recoveries.

We are currently reviewing and reconciling our active case database with deaths and recoveries and as a result, we expect the death and recovery numbers to intermittently change as verifications are made.

Deaths

We have one COVID-19 death to report today. The one COVID-19 death was reported from the Central Division.

The COVID-19 death to report is an 82-year-old man from Suva. He presented to the CWM Hospital in respiratory distress. Sadly, he died 3 days after admission on 01/10/2021. He was not vaccinated.

There has been one death of a COVID-19 positive patient. However, this death has been classified as non-COVID death 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 632 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 630 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 days 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 September 27th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.5. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0.1 and 0.4 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 493 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.

Hospitalisations

There are currently 77 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 38 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 39 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 2 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 4 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 10,619 individuals were screened and 446 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 701,058 individuals screened and 102,900 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 339 individuals and swabbed 150. This brings our cumulative total to 851,719 individuals screened and 77,390 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 371,638 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 414,499 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1,162 tests have been reported for October 1st. The 7-day daily test average is 1,081 tests per day or 1.2 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 9.7 tests per 1000 population, which remains above the WHO recommended level of 4 tests per 1000 population per week. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 6.2%, which is on a downward trend, but it still is indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update

To date, 593,042 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 460,081 have received their second doses. Based on our updated total population of 618,173 people aged 18 years and over (adults), the revised vaccination coverage rates are 95.9% for adults who have received at least one dose, and 74.4% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. Please do note that since dose one is beyond 95%, a verification exercise for dose one is ongoing which may result in minor changes.

As for children, 17,996 children in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine as of 24/09/2021. We will be tracking our vaccine coverage rates once we have firmed up our 15 to 17-year-old denominator. The 15 to 17-year-old vaccination program will restart on Monday the 4th of October. A list of vaccination sites will be posted on the Ministry of Health’s official website, Facebook page, and the Fijian Government Facebook page tomorrow.

For persons who are currently ill or have valid reasons for delaying their vaccination, we request you to apply for possible temporary exemptions through covidexemptionreq@gmail.com.

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 67 cases per day or 75 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, the daily case numbers 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, hospitalisations, and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak.

With the decrease in testing numbers, our testing remains above the WHO recommended rate of 4 tests per 1,000 population per week (or approx. 3,500 tests per week). We will be transitioning to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.

No new cases were reported on Malolo Island in the last 24 hours. Of the total of 89 cases, 57 have recovered, and 32 remain active. Daily monitoring continues for the active cases and their contacts. Vaccination of the villagers and distribution of food rations continue for the affected families. Movement restrictions remain in place.

No new cases were recorded on Naviti Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 181 cases, 163 have recovered and 18 remain active. Daily monitoring of cases and their contacts by the health team continues. The villages on the island remain under strict movement restrictions.

No new cases were recorded on Waya Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 51 cases on the island, 31 cases have recovered and 20 cases remain active and under daily monitoring by the health team. Vaccination of adults continues and the island remains on movement restriction.

The Nacula Medical Area did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours. Of the 155 cases in the medical area, 30 have recovered, and 125 remain active. The active cases are isolated in their respective villages and are monitored daily by the health teams from the respective medical areas. Movement restrictions remain in force for the islands.

No new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 252 cases on the island, 179 cases have now been recovered and 72 cases remain active. The active cases and the 93 primary contacts and 12 secondary contacts are under home isolation and daily monitoring from the health team. Vaccination for the villagers continue in Naceva, Naseuseu, Rukua, Raviravi and Yanuca. Movement restriction remains in force for Yanuca Island with the discontinuation of travel from Yanuca Island to Viti Levu for 14 days.

Public Updates and Advice:

Airborne transmission and Ventilation

The major role of airborne transmission of SARS CoV 2 epidemics and the need for optimal ventilation to minimize this transmission risk has been increasingly recognized by public health experts. This is the basis for our advice that vaccinated persons gathered indoors must be properly masked, with optimal ventilation for the room, and with 2 meter spacing between individuals remains the key protective measures.

Maintaining 2 meters of physical distancing is the critical public health measure in an outdoor gathering for any purpose, hence the Ministry’s instructions on adherence to the 30-persons limit with adherence to other COVID-safe measures. Mixing of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons remains a risk in any setting but more so in indoor gatherings, and should be adequately mitigated. It is the responsibility of those organizing any indoor or outdoor gatherings to ensure that the gathering is COVID-safe. Making the gatherings COVID-safe needs to be the priority whatever the purpose of the gathering.

Children ineligible for vaccination, in any gathering, are best protected by ensuring that the age-eligible adults are vaccinated and the space they are in is well ventilated.

SARS CoV will be endemic to Fiji.  This indicates that:

  1. Despite our high vaccination rates, the need to adhere to COVID-safe measures is key to avoiding future restrictions and lockdowns and thus protecting our ongoing social and economic recovery.
  2. The biggest threat to Fiji’s recovery plan will be to control the ongoing epidemic through our ongoing COVID-safe discipline. Of particular importance is the need for good ventilation in all social and workplace indoor gatherings, ensuring that all age-eligible individuals in these gatherings are vaccinated, and wearing a mask and facial coverings properly

For indoor settings, maximizing natural ventilation by opening windows, doors, and vents when conditions allow (not posing a safety risk), or mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both is important. Any poorly ventilated spaces must be identified and steps are taken to improve fresh air flow in these areas. The use of portable air cleaners with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in spaces with high occupancy or limited ventilation is strongly recommended. In buildings with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, it is important to ensure that:

  1.     These systems are operating in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and design specifications,
  2.     All regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance procedures are conducted,
  3.     The amount of outside air supplied is maximized,
  4.     Where feasible, installation of air filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 or higher is carried out.