PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 03-09-2021

Last Updated on 3 weeks by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Friday, 03rd September 2021

Transmission Update

We have 253 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 163 cases are from the Western Division, 59 cases are from the Central Division and 31 cases are from the Eastern Division.

There are 31 new COVID-19 positive cases in Kadavu, 2 new COVID-19 positive cases in Solevu Village in Malolo Island, and 21 new COVID-19 positive cases in the Yasawa Islands. All these individuals have been isolated.

There have been 163 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 16,352 active cases.5021 active cases are in the Central Division, 11,025 active cases in the Western Division, 5 active cases in the Northern Division (Nabouwalu and Macuata), and 301 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 change markedly as verifications are made.

There have been 47,439 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 47,509 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 30,332 recoveries.

Deaths

We have 3 new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period from 31st August- 02nd September. Two deaths reported were from the Western Division and one death was reported from the Central Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report is a 43-year-old man from Nadi. He was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Nadi Hospital. This means that he died at home or on his way to the hospital (02/09/2021). His family reported that he had developed shortness of breath in the evening prior to his presentation. He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is an 84-year-old man from Sigatoka. He was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Sigatoka Hospital. This means that he died at home or on his way to the hospital (31/08/2021). He was not vaccinated

The third COVID-19 death to report 71-year-old man from Suva. He was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the CWM Hospital Emergency Department. This means that he died at home or on his way to the hospital (02/09/2021). He was not vaccinated.

There have been 2 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 508 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 506 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, in order to help ensure the data collected is complete before the average is reported. Therefore, as of August 29th, the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 5. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 1 and in the Western Division is 4.

We also have recorded 317 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 221 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 98 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 18 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 105 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 16 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 10 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 6,074 individuals were screened and 593 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 530,196 individuals screened and 90,555 swabbed to date. As of the 02nd of September, our mobile screening teams screened a total of 625 individuals and swabbed 360. This brings our cumulative total to 814,728 individuals screened and 72,518 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing update

A total of 336,566 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 379,427 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1292 tests have been reported for September 02nd. The 7-day daily test average is 1366 tests per day or 1.5 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 10.7 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 23.1%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update 

As of the 02nd September, 565,239 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 291,647 have received their second doses. This means that 96.4% of the target population have received at least one dose and 49.7% 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

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 305 cases per day or 345 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.

Surveillance and testing continue in Malolo island. Three new positive cases including 2 children were diagnosed in Solevu village in the last 24 hours. Investigations revealed a possible link to the index cases, and this brings the total number of positive cases to 37. Three cases have recovered and 34 cases remain active. Strict movement restriction is in force for the island.

The intermediate team visited the villages of Somosomo, Gunu, Nasoqo, Kese & Mua-i-ra villages on Naviti island for surveillance and testing. A total of 204 nasopharyngeal swabs were collected and have been sent to Lautoka hospital laboratory for analysis. 11 positive results have been obtained so far, and more positive results are expected when analysis of all swabs are completed. A pediatric case was also referred by the intermediate team to Lautoka Hospital for further care.

Surveillance and testing continue for the villages and settlements on the island of Kadavu. Nasopharyngeal swabs collected from the testing are sent to Vunisea hospital and Kavala health center for analysis with the Gene Expert machines. 39 new cases were identified in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases on the island to 312. Of these, 145 have recovered and 167 remain active. Daily assessment of positive cases by the Community Health Workers and Zone Nurses continues with cases referred to doctors in Vunisea hospital and Kavala health center when required. A total of 6 patients are admitted at Vunisea hospital – three of whom are covid cases and 3 non-covid cases. Movement and social gathering restrictions remain in force for the whole island. 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.

Screening and testing continue in the Namara Tiri containment zone in Labasa with no new cases identified in the last 24 hours.  Movement restrictions remain in force in the containment zone as well as for the whole of Labasa town

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 admission to the hospital – 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 Ministry of Health and Medical Services is remodeling our health service provision to adapt to a more COVID Safe environment. With the increase in the proportion of NON-COVID admissions, CWMH is working on getting its services normalized to cater to COVID and NON-COVID patients. This would include resuming the outpatients and non-emergency inpatient services in a more COVID-safe manner. The Heads of Departments, together with Clinical Governance and Infection Control Teams are working on protocols to be used for patients to access Specialist Services. This would include risk assessing patients and aligning our Infection Prevention and Control measures to protect staff and patients. The Special outpatient patient clinic (SOPD Clinic) had already started a digital platform to provide telehealth and virtual consultation. Using this platform patients are called, a telephone consultation is done and prescribed medications are provided. Blood test forms have also been sent via Viber for patients to get blood tested at their nearest Health Centre. Some services such as blood donation services, bloodletting services, and processing of SOPD prescriptions for refilling are being carried out in more open spaces. The objective is to open services throughout September with particular attention to our Ophthalmology and Dental Services. Many of the CWM doctors and nurses had been deployed to FEMAT and our transition is being coordinated with the return of the deployed staff.

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.

To our maritime islanders, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services reiterates its call not to engage in unauthorized travel to and from Viti Levu. All our current protocols to regulate domestic movements have been working in removing the risk of viral leakage into your communities. As such we appeal for adherence to the protocols we have in place. Furthermore, we repeat our call to all village leaders and elders to support our current efforts to protect our maritime islands by immediately reporting any suspicious movements into your community and having in place quarantine/isolation measures to deal with all travelers into their respective communities. We also appeal for community support for Vaccination; escalating vaccination efforts in the middle of an epidemic is a difficult exercise so we are appealing for timely cooperation.

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.