PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update 28-01-2022

Last Updated on 8 months by Publishing Team

COVID-19 Situation Update

Friday 28th January 2022

Transmission Update:

Since the last update, we have recorded 146 new cases of which 102 new cases were recorded on 27/01/2022 and 44 new cases in the last 24 hours ending at 8 am this morning.

Of the 146 cases recorded, 86 cases were in the Central Division; 54 cases in the Western Division, 6 cases in the Northern Division, and nil cases in the Eastern Division.

Overall, there have been 62,303 cases recorded, with 68% of the cases from the Central Division, 28% of the cases from the Western Division, 1% of the cases from the Eastern Division, and 3% from the Northern Division.

The national 7-day rolling average of cases as of 24th January is 245 daily cases.

Deaths:

This curve depicts the weekly death rate by division since May 2021. Overall, as of the week of 17/01/2022, the death rate graph indicates an upward trend in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the Central, Western, Eastern, and Northern divisions. Please note there is likely a delay in deaths reported in the last week therefore the appearance of a downward trend on the graph may not be representative of the actual trend.

Analysis of Deaths in the Third Wave 

Table 1: Death rates by Division

Division Total COVID Deaths Deaths per 100,000
Central 40 9.9
Western 31 8.7
Northern 24 17.7
Eastern 3 7.8

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An analysis of the first 98 deaths recorded in the third wave show that, while the Central Division has the highest absolute number of deaths, the Northern Division has the highest rate of death when adjusted for population.(Note: There are deaths currently being investigated from the Western Division for the same time period, therefore the rate for that division may increase).

Table 2: Deaths by Age Group

Age Group Total Deaths Deaths per 100,000 population
0 – 9 3 1.7
10-19 2 1.3
20-29 3 2.1
30-39 2 1.5
40-49 3 2.9
50-59 16 17.7
60-69 19 36.6
70-79 29 129.5
80-89 18 319.9
90-99 3 576.9

 

For the first 98 deaths in the third wave, the rates of death when adjusted for population, have been highest in the age groups 50 and upwards. The 5 deaths from the under 19 age group were in children with significant underlying medical conditions.

Table 3: Deaths by Vaccination Status

Age Cohort Total COVID deaths Total Vaccinated/Unvaccinated Deaths per 100,000 Vaccinated Population Deaths per 100,000 Unvaccinated Population
>18 93 41/52 7.1 115
15-17 1 0/1 0 6.6
12-14 1 0/1 0 2.5

Out of  98 COVID -19 deaths reported in the third wave, three deaths were in the population not eligible for vaccination (under age 12). An analysis was done for the 95 deaths in the vaccine-eligible population.. When adjusted for population in the fully vaccinated (received 2 doses) and unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated (received 0 doses or only 1 dose) adults in Fiji, we can see that death rates per 100,000 population are 7.1 deaths per 100,000 for fully vaccinated adults and 115 deaths per 100,000 for unvaccinated adults. This means that unvaccinated adults in Fiji have been dying from COVID-19 at a rate 16.2 times higher than fully vaccinated adults during this current wave. Individuals in the 12-17 age group who died were not vaccinated. There have been no deaths in individuals who received a booster (3rd dose) of the vaccine.

New deaths to report

There are 7 new COVID-19 deaths to report from the period 22nd January 2022 to 26th January 2022.

One death was from the Central Division, two from the Western and four from the Northern. Two were fully vaccinated, the remaining five were unvaccinated. Medical records reflected that, out of the seven, one individual had a significant congenital medical condition, while six had significant pre-existing comorbidities,  which contributed to the severity of their illness and demise.

The first COVID -19 death to report is of a 64-year-old male from the Northern Division, who died on arrival at Labasa Hospital on 22/01/2022. He had pre-existing medical conditions and was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is of a 71-year-old male from the Western Division, who died at home on 24/01/2022. He had pre-existing medical conditions and was fully vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is of an 86-year-old female from the Northern Division, who was admitted at Labasa Hospital on 23/01/2022 and died 2 days later in hospital on 25/01/2022. She was not vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is of an 83-year-old female from the Western Division, who died at home on 25/01/2022. She was not vaccinated.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report is of a 31-year-old male from the Northern Division, who died at home on 26/01/2022. He had a significant congenital medical condition that likely contributed to his death. He was fully vaccinated.

The sixth COVID-19 death to report is of a 75-year-old male from the Central Division, who died at home. He was not vaccinated.

The seventh COVID-19 death to report is of an 83-year-old female of the Northern Division, who was admitted at Labasa Hospital on 23/01/2022. She had pre-existing medical conditions which contributed to the severity of her illness. She died 2 days later in hospital on 25/01/2022. She was not vaccinated.

There has been a total of 798 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji. 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 January 20th, 2022,  the national 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day is 3.0, with a case fatality rate of 1.32%.

We have recorded 785 COVID-19 positive patients who died from other serious medical conditions unrelated to COVID-19; their doctors determined that COVID-19 did not contribute to their deaths, therefore these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths.

Hospitalization:

There is a downward trend in daily hospitalisations. Using the WHO clinical severity classification, a greater percentage, 49% (n=63) of the admissions of COVID-19 positive patients are categorized as asymptomatic and mild, 27% (n=36) are categorized as moderate and 19% (n=24) as severe with 6 cases in the critical category. Anyone admitted to the hospital is tested before admission, therefore, a significant number of people are admitted to the hospital for non-covid health conditions, but incidentally, test positive due to the high amount of transmission in the community. The number of people being admitted because of COVID-19 remains low

Testing:

236  tests have been reported for January 27th, 2022. The 7-day daily test average is 374 tests per day or 0.4 tests per 1,000 population.

The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 44.6%. The high positivity rate is an indication of widespread community transmission.

Public Advisory:

The analysis of the first 95  deaths in the vaccine eligible population during this third wave has revealed that fully vaccinated adults have a 16.2 times lower rate of death from COVID-19 than unvaccinated adults. This is comparable to rates seen overseas, which is an indication of the quality of our COVID-19 vaccination program, even with the urgency of ensuring rapid deployment of vaccines in a very short time period. A testament to the work put in by our dedicated health teams and partner agencies to ensure that protocols are followed, and vaccines are administered properly to the people of Fiji. The huge difference in death rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated adults is even further evidence that vaccination lowers the risk of severe disease outcomes from COVID-19.

We must all do our best to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 to protect our vulnerable populations. This means keeping up with the Vaccine Plus approach.

1) getting fully vaccinated (which includes getting a booster shot when due), plus

2) strictly adhering to the COVID transmission suppression protocols.

The COVID transmission suppression protocols are:

  1. Individual COVID safe measures (masking, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, hand hygiene), and
  2. Settings-based measures (social gathering restrictions, indoor capacity restrictions, ventilation, and curfews).

By vaccinating and maintaining our COVID safe measures, we protect the vulnerable among us. Looking after the vulnerable needs to be a community-wide effort. Everyone also needs to be aware of the symptoms of severe COVID-19 disease, and present early to a health facility when severe symptoms are present. The severe symptoms to look out for are: having trouble breathing (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), ongoing chest pain, severe headache, confusion, inability to stay awake or wake up, pale, grey or blue-colored skin, lips or fingernails, worsening weakness, coughing blood.

Vaccination

The booster dose program began at the end of November 2021. As of January 26th, 72,399 individuals have so far received booster doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the 142, 240 persons considered eligible. This represents a 51% coverage rate for booster-eligible persons. We are also expecting to receive more Pfizer vaccines soon which will be used for booster doses and as a vaccine for children. The booster vaccine and vaccination for children are not considered mandatory, however, we encourage all eligible individuals to be vaccinated or get a booster dose, and help navigate Fiji into a safer covid zone that supports the socio-economic revival and safer reopening of schools.

Vaccination of children under 12 years remains part of ongoing discussions as sourcing them remains difficult.