PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 13-10-2021

Last Updated on 1 week by Publishing Team


Transmission Update:
In the past 7 days, 163 cases were recorded in the central division, 211 new cases in the western division, and 17 new cases in the eastern division. The central division cases constitute 71% of the cumulative total cases nationally, with the western division making up 27% and 2% in the northern and eastern divisions.Since the last update, we have recorded 63 new cases on 12/10/2021 and 50 new cases in the last 24 hours ending at 8 am this morning.
Our National 7- day rolling average is 44 daily cases calculated for 8th October 2021.The weekly incidence rate graph by division indicates a continually declining trend despite the lifting of the Lami to Nausori containment zones on the 17th of September 2021.  Furthermore, the peak weekly incidence in the western division was approximately a third of that in the central division, and the cumulative case numbers are also reflecting a similar difference.

Deaths:
This curve depicts the weekly death rate per 1000 population by divisions since the 2nd wave of this outbreak began in April 2021. Overall the death rate graphs for the Central and Western Divisions indicate a declining trend. The differences between the Central and Western are similar to the incidence of the weekly cases and are likely a reflection of vaccination levels, COVID mitigation measures, and differences in population density.We have an additional ten COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of 7th July 2021- 12th October 2021. All deaths were reported from the Central Division. An analysis of the 10 deaths has highlighted that individuals were aged between 48 to 84 years, 60% (n=6) were females, 90% (n=9) of the individuals were admitted to the CWM Hospital and died as inpatients and 10% (n=1) died at home. 80 % (n=8) of these deaths were unvaccinated, the remaining 20% (n=2) received only one dose of the vaccine. This means that there were no deaths to individuals who were fully vaccinated. Nine of these deaths were reported from July today due to a delay in the issuance of the death certificates.There have been 663 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 661 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 October 10th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.1. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0.0 and 0.1 in the Western Division.

We have recorded 537 COVID-19 positive patients who died from serious medical conditions they had before they contracted COVID-19; these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths.

Hospitalisation:
The downward trend in both the new hospital admissions and total admissions in all hospitals admitting COVID-19 patients across the country is consistent with the cases and death trends. Even with the opening of Lami-Nausori containment zones in mid-September, the hospital admissions continue on a downward trend indicating the positive response to COVID mitigation measures, Population density differences, and differential Vaccination rates.

Testing: 

1,372 tests have been reported for October 12th, 2021. The 7-day daily test average is 1011 tests per day or 1.1 tests per 1,000 population.

The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 4.6%, which is on a downward trend, and below the WHO recommendation of 5%, and this is illustrated by the lab testing graph; also noting the reduction in the daily number of cases. Though we continue testing in high-risk areas, our case numbers and test positivity rate continue to decrease, indicating a better control of the community transmission in Fiji through the combined efforts of containment and mitigation measures with ongoing community surveillance.  We will continue to monitor the trend to better interpret the status of community transmission with other indicators.

Epidemic Outlook:

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 46 cases per day or 52 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 continues monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations, and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak, and it is noted that there is a downward trend across all indicators of the COVID-19 epidemic in Fiji.

With the reduction in testing numbers, which is above the WHO recommended rate of 4 tests per 1,000 population per week (or approx. 3,500 tests per week), we will transition to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.

The overall indications of the cases, hospitalization, and deaths data indicate a positive response to our overall COVID response with the epidemic in the west having a lower and delayed disease peak and lower cumulative numbers.

Public Advisory:

COVID-19 will be endemic in Fiji

Going forward, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services public health team will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission and disease; and intervene when cases cross above acceptable levels. It is expected that in the short to medium term, unknown chains of transmission will persist in parts of Fiji and may not be picked up by our routine community surveillance program. They will only be revealed when an outbreak is big enough to be visible. Therefore, having no cases reported does not necessarily mean that the virus has been eliminated, it implies that the spread of the virus has been successfully contained. Further to community surveillance, remodeling health service provision is also a key strategy in our response.

The public is further reminded that while we have instigated several mandatory and punitive measures to promote adherence to COVID safe measures, public engagement and compliance remains the main determining factor to preventing further transmission and preventing the need for severe restrictions and lockdown.

As such whilst we are doing well with steady reductions in disease cases, admissions, severe disease, and death, this is a time for cautious reassurance and optimism.

Disease Surveillance for Maritime Communities

The indications from the Maritime islands that were affected by COVID-19 is that the situation is now under control. The Malolo and Yasawa community engagement initiative continues for another 10 days with civil servants from different Ministries helping to facilitate containment and vaccination efforts.  The Ministry is currently surveying other maritime communities and islands close to those maritime islands that are reporting cases of COVID-19. So far we have no report of outbreaks in other islands.

Local Repatriation Protocol

The Fiji Day announcements made on Sunday 10th October 2021, have indicated 2 major changes to the local repatriation protocol from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu.

  1. The period of movement restriction within the quarantine program is now reduced to 7 days
  2. The option for home quarantine will be made more available

Please note that this means that we still have a quarantine process in place that needs to be adhered to. To facilitate the oversight and testing logistics of this quarantine protocol, individuals traveling to the northern division are required to obtain a Repatriation Pass. This means that all repatriation travelers must be registered and issued with a Registration Reference Number for Domestic Repatriation. The registered applicants are those who have been registered for domestic repatriation on the toll-free number 163, MCTTT Facebook Page, or via email on domesticrepat@mcttt.gov.fj. Travelers must obtain a Pass before purchasing their tickets to travel and board a vessel or aircraft. All passes will be issued by MHMS through the Office of the Commissioners (Central and Eastern Divisions). Further inquiries on how to obtain a Repatriation Pass can be made on the toll-free number 158 COVID helpline, the contact number 3475190 which will be active from 8 am to 9 pm daily, or through the emails ccdrepat@gmail.com or covidpassmoh@gmail.com.