PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 21-09-2021

Last Updated on 1 month by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Tuesday, 21st September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 118 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 113 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,948 active cases. There have been 50,128 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 50,198 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 36,258 recoveries.

We are currently reviewing and reconciling our active case database with deaths and recoveries and as a result, we expect the death and recovery numbers to intermittently change as verifications are made.

Deaths

We have one new COVID-19 death to report today. The COVID-19 death has been reported from the Western Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report is a 59-year-old man from Nadi. He presented to the Nadi Hospital in severe respiratory distress. His family reported that he had a history of a cough and shortness of breath five days before his presentation. He was transferred to the Lautoka Hospital. Sadly, he died 28 days after admission (19/09/2021). He was not vaccinated.

There have been 4 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 a serious pre-existing medical condition and not COVID-19.

There have now been 576 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 574 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 September 16th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 1.0. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0.4 and 0.6 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 416 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 114 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 34 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 80 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 2 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 2 are in critical condition.

 Screening Update

A total of 9,896 individuals were screened and 685 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 634,461 individuals screened and 97,953 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1050 individuals and swabbed 443. This brings our cumulative total to 839,328 individuals screened and 75,957 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 358,649 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 401,510 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1343 tests have been reported for September 20th. The 7-day daily test average is 1,274 tests per day or 1.4 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 8 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 10.8%, which is on a downward trend, but it still is indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has completed its review of the adult target population for vaccination and we have updated the target population coverage accordingly. The mop-up vaccination program will continue and this may result in further adjustments to the target population.

Therefore, to date, a total of 588,599 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 398,077 have received their second doses. Based on our updated denominator for vaccine-eligible adults, the revised coverage rates are 95.2% for one dose and 64.4% for the two-dose coverage.

Our 15 to 17-year vaccination program began yesterday with some teething issues which we will continue to iron out over the next few days. Our denominator for this phase of vaccination is 45,691 and it is subject to adjustments as target population verification is an ongoing exercise. As emphasized in other announcements, the vaccination coverage rate in children will not determine the school starting dates. A task force has been established to look at ensuring adequate and appropriate oversight over the implementation and maintenance of all measures needed to make the school environment as safe as possible.

For persons who are currently ill or have valid reasons for delaying their vaccination, we request you to apply for possible temporary exemptions through covidexemptionreq@gmail.com.

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 136 cases per day or 154 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, the daily case numbers in the Suva-Nausori corridor 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.

Four new cases were recorded on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 530. Of these, 54 remain active and under daily monitoring by the health team. Eleven patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 6 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 5 are negative for COVID-19. Education and awareness sessions continue for the villages and communities. Beginning today, 5 vaccination teams from Vunisea hospital and 2 vaccination teams from Kavala health center are visiting villages and settlements conducting vaccination for the occupants. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua.

No new cases have been reported for Malolo Island in the last 24 hours. Two cases have recovered and the 16 remaining active cases are monitored daily by the health team. Four high-risk cases are stable and remain in home isolation. Mop-up vaccination for 51 individuals was conducted at Yanuya Island, while the health team conducted surveillance and testing in Cubi and Yaro villages. Movement restrictions remain in force for all villages on Malolo Island.

One new case was diagnosed in Malevu village on Naviti Island in the last 24 hours. Of the total of 179 cases on the island, 90 individuals have recovered while 89 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. The 25 active cases are under home isolation in their villages with a daily assessment conducted by the Yalobi nursing station health team. The island is still under strict movement restrictions.

No new cases were reported in the Nacula Medical Area in the last 24 hours. The active cases remain in home isolation in their respective villages and are monitored daily by the health team from Nacula health center. The community engagement and health team visited the villages of Yamata, Naboro, and Koromakawa and conducted 38 NP swabbing and 58 vaccination for dose 1 and dose 2. Strict movement restriction remains in place for the whole island.

No new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours. The 179 active cases are monitored daily by the health team. The team also visited the villages of Dakuibeqa, Dakuni, Lalati, Nawaisomo, Raviravi, Soliyaga, and Naceva. Movement restriction remains in force for the whole island.

Public Updates and Advice:

Vaccination of Eligible Children

Vaccination of eligible children aged 15 to 17 years with the Moderna vaccine continues throughout the country at designated vaccination sites for children, and parents are encouraged to register their children before vaccination. The vaccination sites for children can be obtained from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Facebook page as well as the Government Facebook page. Parental or guardian consent is mandatory before vaccination. No vaccine will be administered to any child without the consent of the parent or guardian.

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, swelling at the jab site, 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.