PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 11-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Saturday, 11th September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 143 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 86 cases are from the Western Division, 55 cases are from the Central Division, and 2 cases are from the Eastern Division.

There have been 688 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,861 active cases. 1,605 active cases are in the Central Division, 10,956 active cases in the Western Division, 5 active cases in the Northern Division (Macuata), and 295 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 48,788 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 48,858 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 35,099 recoveries.

Deaths

There is one new COVID-19 death to report today. The one death reported today is from the Western Division.

The new COVID-19 death to report today is a 34-year-old woman from Nadi. She presented to the Lautoka Hospital in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, she died 14 days after admission on  10/09/2021. Her family reported that she had a fever, cough, and shortness of breath six days prior to her presentation. She received the 1st 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.

There have now been 535 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 533 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 6th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 2. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 1 and in the Western Division is 1.

We also have recorded 363 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 130 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 47 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 7 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 76 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 18 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 5 are in critical condition.  

Screening Update

A total of 4,050 individuals were screened and 333 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 566,103 individuals screened and 93,439 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1,043 individuals and swabbed 386. This brings our cumulative total to 827,546 individuals screened and 73,780 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 346,523 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 389,384 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1130 tests have been reported for September 10th. Lab testing data is pending from one lab. Therefore, lab testing data is expected to increase. The 7-day daily test average is 1,134 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 15.9%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

We have seen an upsurge in the importation of Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits, some of which are not yet approved for any use by reliable medical authorities. The importation of any medical testing device must have prior authorization from the Fiji Medicinal Products Board (FMPB) in order to be imported and sold in Fiji. From tomorrow (12/09/2021), the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will only consider FMPB-approved COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostic Tests kits (RDT’s). Therefore importers are advised to apply for the appropriate import license from FMPB prior to the arrival of RDT kits into Fiji.

Vaccination Update 

As of the 10th of September, 568,998 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 338,251 have received their second doses. This means that 97% of the target population have received at least one dose and 57.7% are now fully vaccinated nationwide.

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 164 cases per day or 186 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.

Kadavu recorded 2 new cases in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases on the island to 465. Eight cases are admitted at Vunisea hospital; 5 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 3 are negative for COVID-19. Movement restrictions and targeted village lockdowns for Tawava village and the villages in Yawe tikina remain in force. A contingent of 15 police officers has arrived on the island to assist in the enforcement of the COVID restriction measures in place.

Malolo island recorded 6 new cases in the village of Solevu bringing the total number of cases to 87. Six positive cases have also recovered and have been discharged from follow-up, with 26 cases remaining active and under daily surveillance from the health team. Movement restrictions remain in force for all villages on the island.

One new case was identified on Naviti island in the last 24 hours bringing the total cases to 111, and the total active cases to 110. Contact tracing and daily assessment continue in the villages while travel restriction remains for the whole island. The community engagement team comprising personnel from various government agencies based in the western division have arrived on Naviti island onboard MV Cagivou and will undertake awareness, community assessment, and disease surveillance activities in the communities under the Kese Medical Area over the next two weeks.

Beqa Island is the new area of interest after a 70 years old bedridden male who passed away in his home in Dakuni village on 08 September 2021 was diagnosed with COVID-19. A health team comprising health personnel from the Serua/Namosi medical subdivision and CWM Hospital was dispatched to the island on Friday 10 September 2021 to undertake awareness, contact tracing, outbreak assessment, testing, risk assessment for positive cases, vaccination, and delivery of clinical care. 2 new cases have since been identified at Dakuibeqa village bringing the total number of cases to 3. Vaccination coverage for the island is currently at 75% for the first dose and 23% for the second dose. Rations have been provided to affected families in Dakuni village, and movement restriction is now in place for the whole island

Public Updates:

As the second dose coverage increases, it is expected that internal borders within Viti Levu will be lifted soon. The public must remain cautious about how they engage in the greater freedom of movement that will be enjoyed. The increased public movement is needed to facilitate livelihood and to get more families together. To avoid the risk of increased spread of the virus, the public must vaccinate, adhere to COVID safe measures and avoid contained spaces and crowds.

Travel from Viti Levu to the North and to the maritime islands remains highly regulated with pre-departure and quarantine protocols in place. Given the near misses in the North and the cases now seen in some of the maritime islands, we have no near-term plans to change the protocols around inter-island travel. We will be looking at increasing our capacity to move people safely to the North and Maritime Islands using the protocols currently in place.

The Ministry of Health and Medical advises all businesses and workplaces that there is an urgent need to refocus on improving ventilation and air quality to support their current COVID safe measures. There is increasing scientific data supporting the contention that improvement in ventilation and air quality in workplaces is a prerequisite to COVID safe conditions whilst sanitization of all contact surfaces provides secondary support in reducing the transmission of the SARS COV.  Maximize natural ventilation by opening windows, doors, and vents when conditions allow (if that does not pose a safety risk), or mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. Any poorly ventilated spaces in the workplace 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 needs to be a strong consideration. In buildings with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, 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. Maximize the amount of outside air supplied,
  4. Where feasible, installing air filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 or higher.