PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 09-09-2021

Last Updated on 3 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Thursday, 09th September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 179 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am today. 87 cases are from the Western Division, 90 cases are from the Central Division, 1 case is from the Eastern Division and 1 case is from the Northern Division.

There have been 403 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 13,362 active cases. 2,272 active cases are in the Central Division, 10,800 active cases in the Western Division, 5 active cases in the Northern Division (Macuata) and 285 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 48,502 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 48,572 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 34,318 recoveries.

Deaths

There are five new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of 16th July – 08th September 2021. One death was reported from the Western Division and fourth deaths were reported from the Central Division. Kindly note one death was reported for the month of July, this is being reported today due to the delay in the issuance of the official death certificate.

The first COVID-19 death to report is an 80 year old man from Sigatoka. He presented to the Sigatoka Hospital in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, he died on the same day (06/09/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is a 70 year old man from Beqa Island who died at home on 08/09/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is a 62 year old man from Navua. He was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Navua Hospital on 04/09/2021. This means that he died on his way to the hospital or at home. He was not vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 79 year old man from Suva who died at home on 16/07/2021. He was not vaccinated. Kindly note this is being reported today due to a delay in the issuance of the original death certificate.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report is an 83 year old man from Navua who died at home on 07/09/2021. He was not vaccinated.

We report two further adjustments to previously reported deaths. The reported death of the case who drowned in Yaqeta is considered to have been a historical case, however out of an abundance of caution the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will be sending a team to conduct some community surveillance tests in Yaqeta. Additionally, the infant reported yesterday was actually 2.5 months old which makes him the youngest fatality in this epidemic and highlights the need for all persons ineligible for vaccination to be protected by ensuring that those around them are vaccinated and practice COVID safe measures.

There have been 6 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 533 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 531 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 date of death, in order to help ensure the data collected is complete before the average is reported. Therefore, as of September 4th, 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 359 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 154 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 71 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 13 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 70 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 12 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 5 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 6,309 individuals were screened and 582 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 555,914 individuals screened and 92,580 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1,825 individuals and swabbed 70. This brings our cumulative total to 824,976 individuals screened and 73,373 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 343,339 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 386,200 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1133 tests have been reported for September 8th. The 7-day daily test average is 1,152 tests per day or 1.3 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 10.3 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 17.6%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update 

We have a correction to make as regards our vaccination statement yesterday. As of the 07th September, 566,285 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 308,258 have received their second doses. This means that 96.5% of the target population have received at least one dose and 52.5% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. As of the 08th September, 567,751 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 320,520 have received their second doses. This means that 96.8% of the target population have received at least one dose and 54.6% 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%. As such we will need to correct our data as we progress in this mop up program. Over the next few weeks, we will continue 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

The Ministry of Health and Medical services are in an advanced stage of planning to begin the vaccination of children under 18 years. We will begin with children between 16 and 18 years. This will involve a stringent process to ensure that parental or guardian consent is secured and online registration is encouraged prior to vaccination. The required number of vials of vaccine has been put aside to ensure this target population between 16 and 18 can receive both doses of the vaccine. More stocks are expected to continue the vaccination of eligible children less than 18 years. Any decision on the opening of schools will be contingent on how well this vaccination phase rolls out.

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 188 cases per day or 213 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.

Today is day 14 of the lockdown of the Namara Tiri settlement in Labasa and no new case has been identified in the last 24 hours. Movement restriction remains in force for the containment zone and for the whole of Labasa town.

There is one new case of COVID-19 in the Northern Division. This case travelled from the Western Division to the Northern Division as part of the ongoing repatriation program on 08/09/2021. As per protocol he was tested whilst in the Government designated quarantine facility in Labasa and tested positive. The case is stable and has been transferred to the Malau Isolation Facility. There is a possibility that this is a historical case and this is currently being investigated. There are currently five active cases in the Northern Division.

Five new cases were diagnosed in Malolo island bringing the total number of cases on the island to 50. Of these, 25 individuals have recovered and have been discharged from follow up, while 25 remain active and are all in the village of Solevu. The active cases are stable, and under ongoing daily assessment by the health team. Movement restriction remains in force for the island.

Three new cases were identified in the last 24 hours on Naviti Island. This brings the total number of cases to 110 of which 109 remain active. Contact tracing continues with daily assessment and screening of symptomatic individuals done in the villages.

Three patients on Waya island have been referred to Lautoka Hospital for further assessment. The Intermediate team visited the villages on the island and undertook the assessment for possible new cases. The district nurses on the island continue to provide awareness sessions on COVID-19 prevention in the villages and settlements.

Kadavu recorded three new cases in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 455. Of these, 311 have recovered and 142 remain active cases. COVID restrictions on movement, social gathering, and kava drinking are in force, and the Police and Health Inspectors are making unannounced visits to monitor COVID safe practice, provide education and awareness, and issue infringement notices where required.

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 lifesaving 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-coloured 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.