PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 21-08-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Saturday, 21st August 2021

Transmission Update

We have 198 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am today. 52 cases are from the Western Division and 146 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 516 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 20,271 active cases. 11,684 active cases are in the Central Division, 8,540 active cases in the Western Division, 1 active case in the Northern Division (Nabouwalu) and 46 active cases in the Eastern Division (Kadavu). 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 43,224 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 43,294 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 22,341 recoveries.

Deaths

We have one COVID-19 death to report for the 16th August. This death which was previously under investigation in the Eastern Division has now been classified as a COVID-19 death. A detailed investigation by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services’s clinical team has determined that the death was caused by COVID-19. She was a 63 year old woman from Rakiraki Village, in Yale, Kadavu. She was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Vunisea Hospital in Kadavu on the 16/08/2021. This means that she died at home or on her way to the hospital. Her family reported that she had symptoms of cough, fever and shortness of breath. She was swabbed as per protocol and tested positive for COVID-19 (17/08/2021). She was not vaccinated.

There have been 2 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 are now 433 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 431 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 required 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 August 17th, the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 9. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 2 and in the Western Division is 7.

We also have recorded 249 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 322 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. 118 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 38 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 166 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 37 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 14 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 3,408 individuals were screened and 552 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 481,457 individuals screened and 84,665 swabbed to date. As of the 20th August our mobile screening teams screened a total of 2002 individuals and swabbed 231. This brings our cumulative total to 798,185 individuals screened and 70,761 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing update

A total of 316,402 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 359,263 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1,392 tests have been reported for August 20th. The testing data from one lab is still being received. Therefore, testing data numbers are expected to increase. The 7-day daily test average is 1,423 tests per day or 1.6 tests per 1,000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 35.5%.

Vaccination Update

As of the 19th August, 541,611 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 228,799 have received their second doses. This means that 92.3% of the target population have received at least one dose and 39% 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 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 503 cases per day or 569 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.

Advice to the public

People with severe COVID-19 are still dying at home, or are coming to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness.

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.

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.

The situation in Kadavu Island remains a major concern. The clinical scoping team in Kadavu have begun to put together a clinical response plan that will help to efficiently escalate our response to the expected wave of severe disease and deaths in Kadavu however we do anticipate this to be a challenging exercise. The public health team is continuing with screening and isolation protocols. A key part of the response will be to identify persons vulnerable to severe COVID and to pre-emptively engage them in a care plan that allows early identification of danger symptoms and signs and access to clinical care in a timely manner. Another important part of the response to mitigate severe disease will be community wide engagement to establish specific plans that help maintain oversight over vulnerable persons, and facilitate their timely transfer to a health care facility when required.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services reiterates its call for maritime islanders not to engage in unauthorized travel to and from Viti Levu. All our current protocols to regulate domestic movements must be adhered to in order to prevent spread of the virus beyond Viti Levu. Furthermore, we repeat our call to all village leaders and elders to support our current efforts to protect our maritime islands and to immediately report any suspicious movements into your community.