PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 24-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Friday 24th September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 93 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 

There have been 64 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,999 active cases. There have been 50,470 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 50,540 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 36,524 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. This COVID-19 death was reported from the Central Division. 

The first COVID-19 death to report is a 73-year-old woman from Suva who died at home on 22/09/2021. She was not vaccinated. 

There have been 8 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 584 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 582 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 19th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.3. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0 and 0.3 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 433 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 111 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 46 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 65 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 8 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 4 are in critical condition. 

 Screening Update

A total of 5,209 individuals were screened and 334 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 655,778 individuals screened and 99,467 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1,985 individuals and swabbed 67. This brings our cumulative total to 844,426 individuals screened and 76,481 swabbed by our mobile teams. 

Testing Update

A total of 362,644 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 405,505 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1287 tests have been reported for September 23rd. The 7-day daily test average is 1,206 tests per day or 1.4 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 9.7 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 9.9%, which is on a downward trend, but it still is indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update

As of the 23rd September 2021: 590,386 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 419,065 have received their second doses. Based on our updated total population of 618,173 people aged 18 years and over (adults), the revised vaccination coverage rates are 95.5% for adults who have received at least one dose, and 67.8% are now fully vaccinated nationwide.

As for children, 14,680 children in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine as of the 23rd of September. We will be tracking our vaccine coverage rates once we have firmed up our 15 to 17-year-old denominator.

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 117 cases per day or 133 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.

Six new cases were recorded on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases on the island to 556. Of these, a total of 535 cases have recovered and the remaining 18 active cases are under daily monitoring by the health team. Five patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 3 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 2 are negative for COVID-19. Vaccination conducted by 5 teams from the Vunisea health team and 2 teams from the Kaval health team commenced today. Vaccination for children will commence on Monday 27 September 2021. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua. 

No new cases have been reported in the village of Yaro in Malolo Island in the last 24 hours.  Of the 72 cases on the island, 57 cases have recovered and the 15 remaining active cases are monitored daily by the health team. One high-risk case is admitted at Lautoka Hospital. Movement restrictions remain in force for all villages on Malolo Island.

Naviti Island did not record any new cases in the last 24 hours. 86 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. Five 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.

Twenty-five new cases were reported in the Nacula Medical Area in the villages of Nacula and Naisisili in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 138 cases for the medical area. The 138 active cases remain in home isolation in their respective villages and are monitored daily by the health team from the Nacula health center. The health team visited Naisisili village and conducted monitoring for the contact cases and screening for the rest of the village. Strict movement restriction remains in place for the whole island.

Forty-two new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 242. Of these 238 are active cases who are under home isolation and daily monitoring from the health team. Vaccination for the villagers will commence once the 14 days lockdown for the island is completed. Movement restriction remains in force for the whole island.

Ovalau Island in the Lomaiviti group is the new area of interest after 2 positive cases who were under quarantine in the Levuka quarantine facility and tested on 20 September 2021 were reported as positive on 23 September 2021. Another four quarantine cases that also tested positive are confirmed as historical cases. Contact tracing is underway for the new cases who remain in the isolation facility and monitored by the Levuka health team. Internal repatriation to Ovalau has been put on hold for now.

Public Updates and Advice:

Vaccination of Eligible Children

Vaccination of children aged 15 to 17 years with the Moderna vaccine will cease over the weekend to allow the Ministry to take stock of the progress of the campaign. We will advise on the resumption date of the vaccination campaign, and the vaccination sites for children will be advertised on the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Facebook page as well as the Government Facebook page. Parental or guardian consent remains mandatory before vaccination, and 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.

Vaccination for adults aged 18 years and over will continue and the vaccination sites can be obtained from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Facebook page as well as the Government Facebook page. For the Rewa subdivision, the drive-through vaccination site at Hexagon plaza will cease from tomorrow Saturday 25 September 2021. The vaccination site at the Vunimono Hall will relocate to the Parish Hall behind Nausori Market from Monday 27 September 2021 from 9 am to 3 pm.