PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 28-08-2021

Last Updated on 3 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Saturday, 28th August 2021

Transmission Update

We have 258 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 152 cases are from the Western Division and 106 cases are from the Central Division. 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.

One new COVID-19 case has been confirmed from Somosomo on Naviti Island in the Yasawa Group. The person developed severe COVID-19 symptoms and was medically evacuated via airlift to Lautoka Hospital.

There have been 436 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 19,130 active cases. 9,175 active cases are in the Central Division, 9,786 active cases in the Western Division, 5 active cases in the Northern Division (Nabouwalu and Macuata), and 164 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 45,561 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 45,631 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 25,725 recoveries.

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. Doctors have determined that their deaths were caused by serious pre-existing medical conditions and not COVID-19.

There have now been 479 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 477 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 day 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 August 23rd, the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 7. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 2 and in the Western Division is 5.

We also have recorded 297 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 242 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 115 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 23 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 104 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 20 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 11 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 3,894 individuals were screened and 445 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 506,636 individuals screened and 87,929 swabbed to date. As of the 27th of August, our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1,566 individuals and swabbed 179. This brings our cumulative total to 808,853 individuals screened and 71,426 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing update

A total of 328,567 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 371,428 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1,560 tests have been reported for August 27th. The 7-day daily test average is 1680 tests per day or 1.9 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 12.9 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 19.7%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update 

As of the 27th of August, 558,414 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 263,243 have received their second doses. This means that 95.2% of the target population have received at least one dose and 44.9% 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 334 cases per day or 377 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, daily case numbers in Suva-Nausori 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, testing remains above the WHO recommended rate of 4 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.

We are still seeing a high number of cases and high test positivity of 33.5% in the Western Division indicating a very high level of community transmission. Test positivity in the Central Division is on a downward trend but still indicating a very high level of community transmission at 20.5%. Deaths have also been decreasing in Suva-Nausori over the last 4 weeks. While deaths in Western are still at a high level, with deaths per day at a 7 day average in the Western Division now surpassing the Central Division.

The outlook for the cases found in the North indicates a persistent risk of a community outbreak. Further tracing and testing results are needed to clearly understand the level of community transmission. All contacts of the first case identified are in quarantine and so far tested negative. The swabbing results from within the Nabouwalu containment area, and nearby communities are also returning negative. The Nabouwalu index case (wharf worker) is in stable condition and the members of their family have continued to test negative for the virus. All primary contacts’ exit swabs have also returned negative. As regards the three positive cases in Namara Tiri Labasa, so far, we have established 60 primary contacts. All have been swabbed and have returned negative results. There are ongoing investigations to verify the final number of contacts.

The situation in Kadavu and Malolo Island is extremely concerning as there is clear evidence of community transmission on both islands. We expect the case numbers to escalate together with the risk of severe disease and death. The death reported from Naviti Island in the Yasawas is also of concern as it also suggests there is transmission occurring on the island.

Advice to the public

Severe COVID-19

People with severe COVID-19 are still dying at home, or are coming to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness. As mentioned by the Permanent Secretary today: 78% of COVID-19 deaths during this outbreak occurred at home, or on the way to the hospital, or within 2 days of admission to the hospital – giving no or little opportunity for our clinical teams to provide potentially life-saving treatment.

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 it is important that people throughout Vanua Levu listen to advice and continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures. While all cases are related to operations on the Nabouwalu jetty, the first resided in Nabouwalu and the last 3 resided in the Namara Tiri Settlement which is near the township of Labasa.

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.