PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 29-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Wednesday 29th September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 81 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 57 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,881 active cases. There have been 50,883 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 50,953 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 36,977 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 3 COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of 24th July 2021 – 05th September 2021. All three COVID-19 deaths were reported from the Central Division. Kindly note these deaths are being reported today due to a delay in the issuance of the official death certificates.

The first COVID-19 death to report was a 75-year-old man from Nausori. He presented to a medical facility in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, he died on the same day (24/07/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death was a 72-year-old man from Tailevu. He presented to a medical facility in severe respiratory distress. A medical team retrieved him from the medical facility and transferred him to the CWM Hospital. Sadly he died 16 days after admission on 05/09/2021. He received the first dose of the vaccine in mid-July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means he was not fully vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report was a 69-year-old woman from Suva who died at home on 31/08/2021. She was not vaccinated.

There have been 9 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 624 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 622 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 24th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.5. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0.1 and 0.4 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 471 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 88 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 47 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 41 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 4 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 5 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 8,111 individuals were screened and 537 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 681,246 individuals screened and 101,380 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 554 individuals and swabbed 344. This brings our cumulative total to 848,183 individuals screened and 77,167 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 368,095 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 410,956 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1,284 tests have been reported for September 29th. Lab testing data from one lab is still being received. Therefore, lab testing data is expected to increase. The 7-day daily test average is 1,166 tests per day or 1.3 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 9.7 tests per 1000 population, which remains above the WHO recommended level of 4 tests per 1000 population per week. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 8.2%, which is on a downward trend, but it still is indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update

To date, 592,242 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 448,128 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 95.8% for adults who have received at least one dose, and 72.5% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. Please do note that since dose one is beyond 95%, a verification exercise for dose one is ongoing which may result in minor changes.

As for children, 17,996 children in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine as of 24/09/2021. We will be tracking our vaccine coverage rates once we have firmed up our 15 to the 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 98 cases per day or 110 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, the daily case numbers 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 1,000 population per week (or approx. 3,500 tests per week). We will be transitioning to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.

One new case was recorded on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 558 cases. Of these, 542 cases have recovered and the remaining 14 active cases are under daily monitoring by the health team. Ten patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 3 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 7 are negative for COVID-19. Vaccination continues by the Vunisea health teams and the Kavala health teams. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua.

Five new cases have been reported in Solevu, Yaro, and Vunabaka villages in Malolo Island bringing the total number of cases to 87. Of these 57 have recovered, and 30 remain active. Daily monitoring continues for the active cases and their contacts. Vaccination of the villagers and distribution of food rations continue for the affected families. 13 outpatient cases were also attended to by the health team. Movement restrictions remain in place.

Two cases were recorded in Soso village on Naviti Island bringing the total number of cases to 181. Of these, 163 have recovered and 18 remain active. Daily monitoring of cases and their contacts by the health team continues. The island remains under strict movement restrictions.

Seven new cases were recorded in the villages of Natawa, Yalobi, and Naboro on Waya Island bringing the total number of cases to 51. Thirty-one cases have recovered and 20 cases remain active and under daily monitoring by the health team. The team also attended to 7 GOPD patients, 2 IMCI cases, and two MCH cases, while vaccination continued.

Thirteen new cases were recorded in the villages of Dalomo, Teci, and Yasawa-i-rara in the Nacula Medical Area in the last 24 hours. This brings the total number of cases in the medical area to 155, of which 30 have recovered, and 125 remain active. The active cases are isolated in their respective villages and are monitored daily by the health teams from the respective medical areas. Movement restrictions remain in force for the islands.

Three new cases were recorded in Yanuca village and 1 new case in Raviravi village on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 252. Of these, 147 have recovered and 104 remain active. The active cases and the 269 primary contacts and 12 secondary contacts are under home isolation and daily monitoring from the health team. The active cases are distributed between the villages of Dakuibeqa, Soliyaga, Dakuni, Yanuca, Naceva, Nawaisomo, Lalati, and Raviravi. Risk assessment for the active cases noted that one case is in the high-risk category and 19 in the moderate risk category. 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 did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours. The 2 positive cases remain in the Isolation facility and are monitored by the health team in Levuka. Internal repatriation to Ovalau has been put on hold for now.

Public Updates and Advice:

Vaccine Coverage and Relaxing Social and Workplace Engagement Restrictions and Quarantine Conditions,

Curfew hours will move up to 10 pm to 4 am from today the 29th of September 2021. From the 4th of October, houses of worship and almost all workplaces can open up to 70% capacity to double-dosed adults.

We are looking at reducing quarantine periods based on the science around the delta variant. To supplement our quarantine protocols, the Ministry of Health and Medical services is also in the final phases of:

  1. Re-escalating our community surveillance back to containment phase levels with a strong emphasis on our careFIJI to facilitate tracking and rapid contact tracing efforts;
  2. Strengthening our line listing for positive cases and vulnerable persons;
  3. Ensuring better access to Clinical monitoring and outreach capability and retrieval services for those in the line list;
  4. Strengthening our Clinical Care Protocols

The Ministry is preparing for the lifting of international travel restrictions, and other social and workplace engagement restrictions, noting that several countries have seen an increased number of cases with the relaxation of restrictions. There will always be people vulnerable to the virus even as we increase our vaccination coverage. We have one-third of the population under 18 years who will soon be eligible for vaccination. We will have older people with comorbidities whose ability to build up vaccine immunity is not as good as younger and healthier persons. Also of concern is that we will have unvaccinated people in our communities who are also not exposed to the virus, and hence do not have any protection against the disease, and among them are elderly persons and those with serious comorbidities. As such, future resurgence of infections and increased case numbers will again test our critical care capacities. We are constantly reviewing and updating our healthcare protocols so we can respond effectively to future outbreaks.

The key to avoiding future restrictions and lockdowns is for the public to remain cautious about how they engage in the greater freedom they will enjoy. Whilst the easing of restrictions is needed to facilitate social and economic livelihood, the public must ensure that together with vaccination, we continue to observe our COVID safe measures and avoid contained spaces and crowds.

The potential for transmission in any community will be slower, and the ability to contain the outbreak better, when we achieve a high vaccination rate and also maintain strict adherence to COVID safe measures. When we do this, we not only protect ourselves but also protect all those around us, especially the vulnerable, those not eligible for vaccination, and those who are not yet vaccinated.