PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 18-08-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Transmission Update

We have 653 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am today. 462 cases are from the Western Division and 191 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. 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 1,088 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 21,304 active cases. 13,652 active cases are in the Central Division, 7,651 active cases in the Western Division and 1 active case in the Northern Division. We are currently reviewing and reconciling our active case database with recoveries and as a result we expect the recovery numbers to increase in the coming weeks.

There have been 41,760 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 41,830 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 19,883 recoveries.

Deaths

We have 8 new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of August 14th-18th. 5 deaths were reported from the Central Division and 3 deaths were reported from the Western Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report is a 54 year old woman from Tailevu. She presented to the Korovou Hospital in severe respiratory distress. She died on the same day (16/08/2021). She received the first dose of the vaccine in early-August. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is a 54 year old man from Lautoka. He presented to the Lautoka Hospital on the 15/08/2021 in severe respiratory distress and tested positive for COVID-19. He had a history of a cough and fever for three days prior (12/08/2021). Sadly, he died one day after admission on the 16/08/2021. He received the first dose of the vaccine in early-June. He received the second dose of the vaccine on 02/08/2021. However, as he got sick with COVID-19 less than 2 weeks after receiving the second dose, he was not fully vaccinated when he got infected with the virus. A person must have two doses of the vaccine and wait at least two weeks (14 days) after the second dose to be considered fully vaccinated and to get the full protective effect of the vaccine.

The third COVID-19 death to report is an 86 year old woman from Sigatoka who died at home on the 16/08/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 40 year old man from Nausori. He presented to the CWM hospital in severe respiratory distress. He died sixteen days after admission (18/08/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report is a 78 year old man from Tailevu who died at home on the 14/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The sixth COVID-19 death to report is a 72 year old man from Sigatoka who died at home on the 17/08/2021. He received the first dose of the vaccine in early-August. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

The seventh COVID-19 death to report is an 84 year old man from Navua who died at home on the 15/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The eighth COVID-19 death to report is a 75 year old man from Suva. He presented to the CWM Hospital in severe respiratory distress. He died two days after admission (18/08/2021). He received the first dose in late July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

There have been 7 more deaths of COVID-19 positive patients. However, these deaths have been classified as non-COVID deaths by their doctors. Doctors have determined that their deaths were caused by serious pre-existing medical conditions and not COVID-19.

With today’s newly reported deaths, there have now been 413 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 411 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year. As of 17th August the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 10. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the  Central Division is 4 and in the Western Division is 6 .We also have recorded 230 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 327 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. 124 patients are admitted to the Lautoka Hospital, 44 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 159 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 54 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 15 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 5,102 individuals were screened and 876 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 462,637 individuals screened and 80,563 swabbed to date. As of the 17th August our mobile screening teams screened a total of 505 individuals and swabbed 212. This brings our cumulative total to 792,353 individuals screened and 70,291 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing update

A total of 311,742 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 354,603 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1664 tests have been reported for August 17th. The 7-day daily test average is 1513 tests per day or 1.7 tests per 1,000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 33.3%.

Vaccination Update

As of the 17th August 537,704 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 220,034 have received their second doses. This means that 91.7% of the target population have received at least one dose and 37.5% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. We are currently doing a mop up exercise of our first dose campaign, which will allow us to specifically target specific communities with low coverage, and subsequently also correct and update the total eligible population for our current vaccination program.

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 488 cases per day or 552 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.

We are seeing increasing cases reported in the Western Division with evidence of widespread community transmission in that division.  Deaths per day at a 7 day average in the Western Division now surpass the Central Division.

The Northern Division has 1 active case, and the Eastern Division has 0 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 with one active case identified in Nabouwalu, it is important that people throughout Vanua Levu listen to advice and continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures. We are screening and swabbing persons within the containment zone and any modification of our containment strategies will depend on the results of the screening swab tests.

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”.