PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 06-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 weeks by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Monday, 06th September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 128 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 78 cases are from the Western Division, 45 cases are from the Central Division and 5 cases are from the Eastern Division.

There are 5 new COVID-19 positive cases in Kadavu and 1 new COVID-19 positive case in Naviti, Yasawa Islands. All these individuals have been isolated.

There have been 1,687 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 14,404 active cases. 3,399 active cases are in the Central Division, 10,689 active cases in the Western Division, 4 active cases in the Northern Division (Macuata), and 312 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 47,923 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 47,993 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 32,728 recoveries.

Deaths

There are 12 new COVID deaths to report for the period of 27th July- 05th September 2021. Four deaths were reported from the Western Division and eight deaths were reported from the Central Division. Kindly note three deaths are reported for July as the formal issuance of the death certificates was delayed.

The first COVID-19 death to report is a 90-year-old man from Navua who died at home on 05/09/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is a 28-year-old woman from Lautoka. She presented to the Lautoka Hospital in severe respiratory distress. She died 8 days after admission (04/09/2021). She was not vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is a 90-year-old woman from Nadi who died at home on 03/09/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 58-year-old man from Nausori who died at home on 02/09/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report 56-year-old man from Suva. He presented to the CWM Hospital in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, he died 3 days after admission (04/09/2021). He was not vaccinated. Kindly note that this death was previously under investigation, the medical team has now completed its investigations and has classified this death as a COVID-19 death.

The sixth COVID-19 death to report is a 62-year-old woman from Suva who died at home on 28/07/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The seventh COVID-19 death to report is a 69-year-old woman from Suva who died at home on 30/07/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The eighth COVID-19 death to report is a 57-year-old man from Suva who died at home on 27/07/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The ninth COVID-19 death to report is a 69-year-old man from Suva. He presented to the CWM Hospital in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, he died  12 days after admission. He was not vaccinated.

The tenth COVID-19 death to report is a 43-year-old man from Rakiraki. He presented to the Rakiraki hospital in severe respiratory distress. A medical team transferred him to the CWM Hospital. Sadly, he died  7 days after admission. He was not vaccinated.

The eleventh COVID-19 death to report is a 74-year-old man from Suva who died at home on 05/09/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The twelfth COVID-19 death to report is a 93-year-old man from Tavua who died at home on 31/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

There have been 19 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 520 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 518 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 September 1st, the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 4. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 1 and in the Western Division is 3.

We also have recorded 338 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 195 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 82 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 14 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 99 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 24 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 6 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

As of the 05th September 2021: A total of 1,859 individuals were screened and 214 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 543,707 individuals screened and 91,619 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 138 individuals and swabbed 20. This brings our cumulative total to 819,642  individuals screened and 72,891 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 340,217 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 383,078 tested since testing began in March 2020. 774 tests have been reported for September 5th. The 7-day daily test average is 1377 tests per day or 1.6 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 18.7%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update 

As of the 03rd September, 566,210 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 299,943 have received their second doses. This means that 96.5% of the target population have received at least one dose and 51.1% 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%. Over the next few days, we will start to correct and update the total eligible population for our current vaccination program as updated data is received from our vaccination campaign frontline team.

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 255 cases per day or 288 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, hospitalisations, 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.

Ongoing surveillance and testing in Kadavu have revealed 126 new cases through Gene Expert and RDT testing. 255 individuals have recovered and were discharged from follow-up. Of the 195 active cases, 132 individuals are assessed to be low risk, 25 with moderate risk, and 38 with high risk and closely monitored by the health teams. 5 patients with COVID-19 are admitted at Vunisea hospital and in stable condition. Screening and assessment have been completed in 65 villages and 18 settlements to date. Movement restrictions measures are in place for all villages on the island.

Surveillance continues on Malolo island with the health team setting up Emergency tents and refresher upskilling sessions done for the island health team. Assessment for Yaro village is ongoing with the team also preparing to visit and assess Tavua village and Yanua village in the next few days. Assessment and testing have not revealed any new cases, and movement restrictions remain in force for the villages.

Results for the 362 NP swab tests conducted for the 7 villages of Naviti island are awaited. Meanwhile, assessment and contact tracing continue for families and contacts of the positive cases. Two cases of COVID-19 pneumonia are currently under the observation and care of the Medical Officer at Kese Health Centre. Surveillance and contact tracing will continue while movement restriction remains in force for the island.

The death from the suspected drowning of a swab positive individual at Yaqeta village has alerted the Nacula Health Centre team on the possible presence of the disease within their medical area. While the Police team is investigating this unfortunate death, the health team is working in close collaboration with the Mata ni Tikina and villagers for the necessary assessment and contact tracing work for the village and the island. No other cases have been identified on the island to date.

Phase 1 and phase 2 screening and testing have not identified any new cases in the Namara Tiri settlement in Labasa in the last 24 hours. Of the total of 9 cases to date, 5 cases have recovered fully and have been discharged, and 4 active cases remain.  Phase 3 of screening and testing will commence in the community tomorrow while movement restriction remains in force for the containment zone and 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 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 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 change of the curfew hours and the increase of funeral gatherings to 20 persons must not make us complacent with covid safe measures.  While we have more time for shopping and carrying out other essential activities, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services advises the public that other health protection measures remain. We are reviewing some of our restrictions however please restrict movement out of your homes. When leaving home, please continue to practice COVID-19 safe measures of wearing a mask, regularly washing your hands with soap and water or a hand sanitizer, practice safe physical distancing of two meters and cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing; these are still critical for protection against COVID-19.