PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update 24-12-2021

Last Updated on 6 months by Publishing Team

COVID-19 Situation Update

Friday 24th December

Transmission Update:

Since the last update, we have recorded a total of 109 new cases; of which 40 new cases were recorded on 23/12/2021, and 69 new cases in the last 24 hours ending at 8 am this morning.

This epidemic curve depicts the daily positive cases since the 2nd wave of this outbreak that began in April 2021. Overall, for this 2nd wave, there have been 52,745 cases recorded, with 71% of the cases from the Central Division, 28% of the cases from the Western Division, and 1% of the cases from the Eastern and Northern Divisions. 

Of the 109 cases recorded since the last update, 68 cases were recorded in the Northern Division; 30 cases were recorded in the Western Division with 14 cases from border quarantine, and 11 cases recorded in the Central Division.

Our National 7- day rolling average is 8 daily cases calculated for 20th December 2021.

Deaths:

This curve depicts the daily death count by division since the 2nd wave of this outbreak that began in April 2021. Overall, the death rate graphs for the Central and Western Divisions indicate a declining trend. The differences between the Central and Western are similar to the incidence of the daily cases and are likely a reflection of vaccination levels, COVID mitigation measures, and differences in population density.

There is no COVID-19 death to report.

There have been a total of 697 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 695 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 December 20th, the national 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.0, with a case fatality rate of 1.32%.

We have recorded 613 COVID-19 positive patients who died from serious medical conditions they had before they contracted COVID-19; these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths.

Epidemic Outlook:

The Ministry of Health continues to monitor the outbreak using indicators such as daily case numbers, hospitalizations, test positivity, and deaths.

Occupancy rates in health facilities, the occupancy rate of ICU beds, death rates, and vaccination coverage are indicators to monitor our health response capacity and we see a decreasing trend across indicators from our health facilities with increasing vaccination coverage for adults, 15-17-year-olds, and 12-14-year-olds in Fiji.

With increasing COVID-19 cases in the European and Americas region, and the emergence of the new highly transmissible variant Omicron, we anticipate an increasing number of cases from border quarantine facilities. Increased and sustained surveillance and testing at our borders, communities, and maritime islands are vital to monitor and detect COVID-19 cases for early intervention.

There is an increasing number of cases in the Northern division which is anticipated to continue to increase, demanding ongoing surveillance for early intervention to mitigate COVID-19 risks.

Public Advisory:

We have highlighted over the last few updates the rise in COVID–19 positive cases in the Northern Division. The lifting of containment borders between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, resulted in large numbers of travelers moving between the 2 main islands, life returned to some normalcy, and we saw some large sporting activities resume.

The increasing number of people testing COVID-19 positive in the Northern Division, means the Health Ministry and the health care staff in the North, will be escalating the measures in place aimed at protecting residents of Vanua Levu from the severe effects of COVID-19. We wish to assure all that the Health Ministry is doing all we can to keep you safe. Our health care workers who would have spent this festive season with their families, are now on-call to protect lives and mitigate community transmission.  Our health care workers supported by other government officials from various government agencies in the north, will over this festive season, be tracing contacts, caring for patients who develop severe disease, monitoring individuals under isolation, and spending time away from their families during this festive season. I urge the public to cooperate with health care workers and adhere to our COVID safe measures to ensure that this surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the Northern Division is managed and contained.

I call on all individuals of the Northern Division, in all of its 3 Provinces of Cakaudrove, Bua, and Macuata to practice responsible social gatherings and diligently adhere to the COVID-19 safe measures. Be wise about your social gatherings, and postpone them if you can. During these pandemic times, it is best that you remain at home and celebrate with your loved ones, rather than gather in large numbers and potentially put at risk the vulnerable members of your families; including those who are unvaccinated.

While we are buoyed by the increase of fully vaccinated individuals in the Vanualevu, which currently stands at 95% for dose 1 and 85.4% for dose 2. I have also said in my statement this week, that the way forward to protecting ourselves from COVID-19 is a vaccine plus strategy. Where 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine together with COVID safe measures are the best way to be protected from COVID-19.

All individuals of the northern division must assume that those around us are COVID-19 positive and so we must protect ourselves at ALL times.

If you are in Vanua Levu and develop any symptoms of COVID-19 you should visit a screening clinic to be checked and tested by our medical teams, or call 158. Symptoms of COVID-19 include any of the following: Cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, fatigue/extreme tiredness, loss of taste or smell, headache, aches and pains, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, red eyes, skin rash.

Testing will also be prioritized for high-risk individuals, vulnerable and symptomatic persons, and household contacts. If you have any symptoms and are over the age of 50 years or you have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, asthma, are obese, or are pregnant.

As well as getting tested you must isolate yourself from others if you have symptoms or you have had to contact with a case. For those on home isolation, you are to ISOLATE from others including other members of your household for at least 10 days. Stay at home. As much as possible, maintain a physical distance of 2m between yourself and other members of your household, and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Drink plenty of fluids, and take paracetamol for pain and fever.

Most importantly, watch for severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Severe COVID-19 is a medical emergency, and a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment reduces your chance of recovering from the disease. You do not need to have a positive test result to watch out for these symptoms. We 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

For people anywhere else in Fiji:

Please call 158 or go to your nearest screening clinic for testing if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. If you do leave your home to go to a screening clinic: please wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose, keep at least 2 meters between yourself and others outside your household, wash your hands with soap and water frequently, or use a hand sanitizer. Download and activate the CareFIJI app on your phone, and avoid using public transport. Also call 158 if you have been in contact with someone confirmed as a case of COVID-19.