PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 15-08-2021

Last Updated on 1 month by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Transmission Update

We have 467 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am today. 258 cases are from the Western Division and 209 cases are from the Central Division. A full breakdown of areas of interest will be published online tonight on the Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard and on the Fijian Government Facebook page. You will also be able to view the approximate locations of new cases, active cases, and recovered cases on the dashboard at the following link: http://bit.ly/3vE2ZBb.

There have been 231 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 23,831 active cases. 17,226 active cases are in the Central Division, 6,604 active cases in the Western Division and 1 active case in the Northern Division.

There have been 40,167 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 40,237 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 15,841 recoveries.

As mentioned yesterday, we have one case in the Northern Division. This case was picked in a routine screening program. Another 51 persons screened as part of this program had tested negative. The positive person has been securely moved to the Malau isolation facility and household members have been quarantined. Whilst the positive person does not represent a community transmission case (given we are clear that the source of transmission was from outside Vanua Levu), the risk of community transmission is high. So far, the person’s 6 household members have tested negative for the virus and a further 8 workplace contacts are negative. We are awaiting 3 more primary contact results.  The contact tracing and community surveillance efforts will continue. Furthermore, an area of restricted movement will be will be announced tomorrow to facilitate heightened Community Surveillance, conduct more contacts tracing, escalate our COVID Safe community engagement program and to plan and implement a program of targeted heightened vaccination coverage throughout the Nabouwalu containment zone

Deaths

We have 3 new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of August 11th-13th, and the deaths were reported from the Central Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report is a 62 year old woman from Nakasi who died at home on the 13/08/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is a 79 year old man from Tailevu who died at home on the 11/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is an 80 year old woman from Suva who died at home on the 14/08/2021. She was not vaccinated.

With today’s newly reported deaths, there have now been 371 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 369 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year. The national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 7.  We also have recorded 194 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 264 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. 73 patients are admitted to the Lautoka Hospital, 47 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 144 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 54 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 12 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 2,999 individuals were screened and 393 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 456,883 individuals screened and 79,508 swabbed to date. As of the 14th August our mobile screening teams screened a total of 103 individuals and swabbed 41. This brings our cumulative total to 790,403 individuals screened and 69,891 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing update

A total of 307,048 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 349,909 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1178 tests have been reported for August 14th. Testing data for some labs are still being received and so the testing number is expected to increase once updated. The 7-day daily test average is 1476 tests per day or 1.7 tests per 1,000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 32.9%.

Vaccination Update

As of the 14th August 533,705 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 211,496 have received their second doses. This means that 91% of the target population have received at least one dose and 36.1% 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 465 cases per day or 526 cases per million population per day. We have noted a drop in cases reported per day recently. However, our daily testing numbers have also been dropping around the same time, due to the change in testing policy in Suva-Nausori. As announced on July 21st by the Permanent Secretary, only persons that have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 are being targeted for testing in Suva-Nausori. This was done so that resources could be targeted to early detection, monitoring and care of persons with COVID-19 who are at higher risk of severe disease, to prevent more people succumbing to severe disease and death.

We are likely seeing the effect of this testing policy change now in Suva-Nausori with the drop in daily reported cases. This does not mean that the outbreak is on a downward trend in the Suva-Nausori community. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, daily case numbers in Suva-Nausori are currently not being used as an indicator to monitor progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori. The Ministry is closely monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori. Test positivity in Suva-Nausori was between 40-50% before the change in testing policy and has remained at this high level, which is above the national average. This is one indicator of the continuing high level of community transmission in this area.

Testing levels in the Western Division remain consistently high with 3.8-4 tests per 1000 population per day at a 7 day average. We are seeing increasing cases reported in the Western Division with evidence of widespread community transmission in that division.  We are also noting an increasing trend of deaths in the Western Division.

The Northern Division has 1 active case, and the Eastern Division currently has no active cases.

Advice to the public

People with severe COVID-19 are still dying at home, or they are coming to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness. We are now seeing this happening in the Western Division as deaths are increasing in that division.

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. 

The public in the North are being reminded that although the case discussed in this statement was identified in Nabouwalu, it is important the members of the public throughout Vanua Levu listen to advice and continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures.

The public is requested to practice COVID-19 safety measures of wearing a mask when leaving your home, wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser, practice safe physical distancing of 2m, ensure that the careFIJI app is downloaded on your phone and enabled and remember to get vaccinated”.