PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 22-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 72 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 32 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,982 active cases. There have been 50,200 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 50,270 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 36,290 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 no new COVID-19 deaths to report today.

There have been 3 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.

We have an additional 3 COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of 15th July 2021- 16th July 2021. All three deaths were reported from the Central Division. An analysis of the 3 deaths has highlighted that individuals were aged between 59 to 66 years, 67% (n=2) were males, all of the individuals died at home or on their way to the hospital and all three individuals were unvaccinated. This means that there were no deaths of individuals who were fully vaccinated.

There have now been 579 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 577 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 17th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.7. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0.3 and 0.4 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 419 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 108 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 40 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 68 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 9 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 2 are in critical condition.

 Screening Update

A total of 6,917 individuals were screened and 465 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 641,378 individuals screened and 98,418 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 2373 individuals and swabbed 57. This brings our cumulative total to 841,701 individuals screened and 76,014 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 359,931 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 402,792 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1282 tests have been reported for September 21st. The 7-day daily test average is 1,248 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 10.2%, which is on a downward trend, but it still is indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update

New target population set for COVID-19 vaccination

Following the mop-up vaccination program for the first dose, and the review of the target population, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has updated its total target population of adults aged 18 and over for the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The new target population of adults aged 18 years and over is 618,173.

In the review which is routinely undertaken in mass vaccination programs, the Ministry used the health zones generated profiling data for its target population to ensure that medical area targets are relevant to medical teams looking after the area. To mitigate the risks associated with areas of high population mobility such as in urban areas and highly populated peri-urban areas, the review incorporated the following:

  1. For larger urban and peri-urban areas where profiling is a challenge due to ongoing population mobility and increased internal migration, and considered unreliable, the WHO approved census-based estimate of the adult population (63% of the total population) has been taken for these medical areas.
  2. In areas with lower population density, the actual profile data have been used and they reflect the true presence of individuals and arms to be jabbed for vaccination.
  3. Allowances have also been made to include individuals who have work visas, student visas, and temporary visa permits and have gotten vaccinated in Fiji. This data was provided by the Immigration department.

When calculating the national vaccination coverage as a percentage, the total adults vaccinated is divided by the total adult population.  Therefore, the increase in the total number for the adult population (the denominator of the calculation) at the national level has reduced the percentage of vaccination coverage nationally by 4%. At the subnational level, while in some places there was an increase in the denominator especially in Rewa, Naitasiri, Nadroga, and Ba, other areas like Nasinu and the maritime islands have seen a decrease.

The review of our vaccination denominator will remain ongoing as we reconcile profiling data with census-based estimates, however, no major impact is anticipated on our national adult population vaccination age-eligible coverage rates.

Please note that this revision of the total targeted adult population does not affect the figures for the total number of adults who have gotten vaccinated in Fiji, which is the numerator for the calculation of percentage vaccination coverage. The change has just been to the denominator, which is the total population of adults in Fiji. Therefore, as of yesterday, a total of 589,301 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 405,839 have received their second doses. Based on our updated total population of 618,173 people aged 18 and over (adults), the revised vaccination coverage rates are 95.3% for one dose and 65.7% for the two-dose coverage.

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.

The vaccination program for children

Our 15 to 17-year vaccination program has been ongoing with much of the teething issues mitigated today. Our denominator for this phase of vaccination is 45,691 and it is subject to adjustments as target population verification is an ongoing exercise. A total of 7,102 children were vaccinated over the last 2 days. 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.

As emphasized in other announcements, the vaccination coverage rate in children will not determine the school starting dates. The children vaccination rate also does not impact our current social relaxation and/or economic recovery program.

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 126 cases per day or 142 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, our testing remains above the WHO recommended rate of 4 tests 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.

No new cases were recorded on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours. 17 cases have recovered in the last 24 hours and the remaining 37 active cases are under daily monitoring by the health team. Nine patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 5 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 4 are negative for COVID-19. Education, awareness sessions, surveillance, and vaccination continue for the villages and communities. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua.

Four new cases have been reported in the village of Yaro in Malolo Island in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases on the island to 70. Of these, a total of 51 cases have recovered and the 19 remaining active cases are monitored daily by the health team. Four high-risk cases are stable and remain in home isolation. Movement restrictions remain in force for all villages on Malolo Island.

Naviti Island did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours. Of the total of 179 cases on the island, 93 individuals have recovered while 86 cases remain active and under surveillance by the health team. Movement restrictions are in place for all villages.

Four new cases were recorded on Waya Island in the last 24 hours – 2 cases at Nalawaki village and 2 at Namara village. 25 cases have recovered and the 4 new active cases are under home isolation in their villages with a daily assessment conducted by the Yalobi nursing station health team. The community engagement and health team visited Yalobi village and conducted 50 NP swabbing and vaccination for 10 individuals. The clinical team also reviewed 17 NCD cases in the village. The island is still under strict movement restrictions.

Sixteen new cases were reported in the Nacula Medical Area in the last 24 hours in the village of Nacula. This brings the total number of cases on the island to 113. All active cases remain in home isolation in their respective villages and are monitored daily by the health team from the Nacula health center. Strict movement restriction remains in place for the whole island.

Twenty new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the villages of Dakuibeqa, Dakuni, and Lalati in the last 24 hours. Risk assessment for the 199 active cases revealed that 64 cases were in the moderate risk category and 24 cases in the high-risk category. Vaccination for the villagers will commence once the 14 days lockdown for the island is completed. Meanwhile, 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.