PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 15-09-2021

Last Updated on 1 month by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Wednesday, 15 September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 146 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 69 cases are from the Western Division, 68 cases are from the Central Division and 9 cases are from the Eastern Division.

There have been 217 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,870 active cases. 1,328 active cases are in the Central Division, 11,226 active cases in the Western Division, 2 active cases in the Northern Division (Macuata), and 314 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 49,320 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 49,390 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 35,605 recoveries.

Deaths

There is one COVID-19 death to report today. This death has been reported from the Central Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report today is a 93-year-old man from Suva who died at home on 16/07/2021. He was not vaccinated. Kindly note this death is being reported today due to the delay in the issuance of the death certificate.

There have been 8 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 serious pre-existing medical conditions and not COVID-19.

There have now been 540 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 538 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 10th, the national 7 day 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 374 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 119 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 33 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 6 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 80 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 5 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 4 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 9,403 individuals were screened and 569 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 595,768 individuals screened and 95,559 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1,489 individuals and swabbed 88. This brings our cumulative total to 832,588 individuals screened and 74,352 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 351,192 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 394,053 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1461 tests have been reported for September 14th. The 7-day daily test average is 1,203 tests per day or 1.4 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 12.6%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update 

As of the 14th of September 577,005 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 363,420 have received their second doses. This means that 97.5% of the target population have received at least one dose and 61.9% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. Over the last two weeks, the team has been validating its data to ensure that the level of protection across Viti Levu is equitably distributed.  We are currently validating areas of concern and we will be outlining further measures to reduce the risk that travelers will place on these areas of concern. We will also be reviewing other restrictions currently in place and a  formal announcement will be made tomorrow on the lifting of borders and other measures. Until this announcement is made all current measures remain in force.

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 142 cases per day or 161 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 now has a total of 483 cases after 9 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours. Nine patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 4 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 5 are negative for COVID-19. Mobile outreach teams continue with their visits to villages and settlements carrying out the follow-up of primary contacts, monitoring of positive patients and clearance, roll out of COVID-19 vaccination, MCH clinic, and immunization of babies, GOPD consultation, and SOPD clinic with medicine replenishment. Kavala health team is continuing with 2nd dose vaccinations as well as 1st dose jabs as part of the mop-up campaign. A clinical outreach team from Vunisea conducted specialist obstetrics, paediatric, internal medicine, and ultrasound scan clinics at Kavala health center today. Movement restrictions and targeted village lockdowns for Tawava village and the villages in Yawe tikina remain in force.

Five new cases have been reported for Malolo Island in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 61. Of these, 33 individuals have recovered and 28 remain active cases. Daily assessment continues for the active cases and their contacts, with 569 villagers screened in the last 24 hours. The health team also visited Yanuya Island and conducted screening for the villagers. Movement restrictions remain in force for all villages on the island.

Five new cases have been reported on Naviti Island in the last 24 hours. 75 individuals have recovered in the last 24 hours and 60 cases remain active and under surveillance by the health team. Movement restrictions are in place for all villages.

No new cases were recorded on Waya Island in the last 24 hours. 25 cases remain active and under home isolation in their villages with a daily assessment conducted by the Yalobi nursing station health team. The island remains under strict movement restrictions.

Two new cases were diagnosed on Nacula Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases on the island to 25; 21 cases in Nacula village and 4 cases in Naisisili village. The positive cases are under isolation in their respective villages and monitored daily by the health team from Nacula health center. The other 4 villages and 2 settlements on the Island have recorded no positive cases to date. Strict movement restriction remains in place for the whole island.

Beqa Island has recorded a total of 62 cases with 61 cases remaining active. Eleven cases have been identified in the village of Lalati, and all active cases are followed up daily through visitation and phone calls by the health team. Education and awareness on COVID safe measures and vaccination, and revisiting new positive cases have been done for the villages of Dakuni, Dakuibeqa, Rukua, and Raviravi. The island remains on movement restriction.

Public Updates and Advice:

The Ministry of  Health and Medical Services is now ready to begin the vaccination of children under 18 years. Working with the Ministry of Education, Heritage, and Arts, we will begin with children in the age group of 15 to 17 years. A stringent process is in place to ensure that parental or guardian consent is secured and online registration is encouraged before vaccination. No vaccine will be given without the consent of parents or guardians. The Ministry has set aside the required number of vials Moderna vaccine to ensure that the target population between 15 to 17-year-olds can receive both doses of the vaccine. The eligible children’s 1st dose vaccination is planned for rollout from Monday 20th September 2021 and the 2nd dose from Monday 18th October 2021.

Vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 years is safe. Similar to adults, children can also experience the side effects of COVID-19 vaccination such as pain at the jab site, swelling, fever, and body aches. These symptoms should subside over a few days. Severe side effects are rare and the risk of getting a severe infection and succumbing to COVID-19 is still higher than the risk of adverse events from vaccination. Therefore, parents and guardians are encouraged to agree for their children to be vaccinated to protect them from COVID-19.