PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 23-08-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release
COVID-19 Daily Update
Monday, 23rd August 2021
 
Transmission Update
 
We have 591 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 498 cases are from the Western Division, 89 cases are from the Central Division, and 4 cases are from the Eastern Division (Kadavu). 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.
 
The 4 new cases in Kadavu are from Namalata Village.
There have been 616 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 19,062 active cases. 9723 active cases are in the Central Division, 9203 active cases in the Western Division, 1 active case in the Northern Division (Nabouwalu), and 135 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 increase in the coming weeks.
 
There have been 44,118 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 44,188 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 24,425 recoveries.
 
Deaths
 
We have 6 new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of 16th – 22nd August. Three deaths were reported from the Central Division and three deaths were reported from the Western Division.
 
The first COVID-19 death to report is a 72-year-old man from Tailevu who died at home on 21/08/2021. He received the first dose of the vaccine in mid-July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not vaccinated.
 
The second COVID-19 death to report is a 44-year-old man from Tailevu. He presented to the CWM Hospital in severe respiratory distress. He died 3 days after admission on 22/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.
 
The third COVID-19 death to report is a 50-year-old woman from Tailevu who died at home on 20/08/2021. She presented to the Lautoka Hospital in severe respiratory distress. She was not vaccinated.
The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 20-year-old woman from Rakiraki who died at home on 16/08/2021. She received the first dose of the vaccine in mid-July. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.
 
The fifth COVID-19 death to report is a 72-year-old woman from Rakiraki who died at home on 21/08/2021. She received the first dose of the vaccine in mid-August. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.
 
The sixth COVID-19 death to report is a 71-year-old man from Rakiraki who died at home on 22/08/2021. 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. 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 444 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 442 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 the date of death, in order to help ensure the data collected is complete before the average is reported. Therefore, as of August 18th, the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 8. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 2 and in the Western Division is 6.
 
We also have recorded 257 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 279 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 110 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 39 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 130 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 26 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 14 are in critical condition.
 
Screening Update
 
A total of 808 individuals were screened and 146 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 483,348 individuals screened and 85,064 swabbed to date. As of the 22nd of August, our mobile screening teams screened a total of 71 individuals and swabbed 34. This brings our cumulative total to 800,338 individuals screened and 70,868 swabbed by our mobile teams.
 
Testing Update
 
A total of 320,029 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 362,890 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1,759 tests have been reported for August 22nd. 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 1637 tests per day or 1.8 tests per 1,000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 31.5%.
 
Vaccination Update
 
As of the 21st of August, 543,254 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 234,905 have received their second doses. This means that 92.6% of the target population have received at least one dose and 40% 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 514 cases per day or 581 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. Since July 21st, 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 will be transitioning to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.
 
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 the 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 remains with one active case, with all contacts in quarantine so far testing negative, and swabbing results from within the containment area, and nearby communities also returning negative. The situation in Kadavu in the Eastern Division continues to remain a concern, with 4 more cases reported today.
 
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-colored 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 is 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 sanitizer, practice safe physical distancing of 2m, ensure that the careFIJI app is downloaded on your phone and enabled and remember to get vaccinated.
 
Kadavu Response Update
 
The situation in Kadavu Island remains a major concern. The clinical scoping team has 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 team is expected to depart for Kadavu over the next 2 days. FEMAT’s response to Kadavu will involve both public health and clinical teams. The clinical team will include doctors and nurses from the clinical specialized fields of medicine. Upon arrival in Kadavu, the clinical team will boost up the public health response on, case identification through rapid diagnostic tests, risk assessment and stratification, COVID awareness, Vaccination coverage, and clinical case management based on the clinical care flow pathway. The aim will be to identify the extent of transmission, instituting containment strategies, early detection, and retrieval of sick cases, and minimizing deaths. They will also work very closely with the teams from other ministries under Provincial Administrator Kadavu on community engagement. The main goal is also to minimize severe and critical cases given the expected challenges in medical evacuation. While they commit towards community response and engagement the logistic teams will be setting up the COVID wards and the intermediate care facilities in readiness for patients with severe COVID-19 disease.
 
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 the 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.