PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 30-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Thursday 30th September 2021

Transmission Update

We have 70 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 103 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,841 active cases. There have been 50,953 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 51,023 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 37,080 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 no new COVID-19 deaths to report today.

However, there have been 7 deaths of COVID-19 positive patients. 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 25th, 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 478 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 83 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 43 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 40 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 4 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 3 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 6,399 individuals were screened and 673 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 687,645 individuals screened and 102,053 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 35 individuals and swabbed 24. This brings our cumulative total to 848,218 individuals screened and 77,191 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 369,157 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 412,018 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1062 tests have been reported for September 29th. The 7-day daily test average is 1,114 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 7.4%, 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 448,243  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. Furthermore, we have adjusted our second dose to correct some double counts thus the small increase of 115 which results in the same percentage coverage for dose 2 as reported yesterday

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 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 82 cases per day or 93 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.

Nineteen new cases were recorded in the villages of Muani, Nakunakoro and Namalata on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 577 cases. Of these, 554 cases have recovered and the remaining 21 active cases are under daily monitoring by the health team. Risk assessment revealed that 3 active cases are in the high-risk category and 18 in the low category. Eleven patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 3 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 8 are negative for COVID-19. Vaccination continues by the Vunisea health teams and the Kaval health teams. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua.

No new cases were reported on Malolo Island in the last 24 hours. Of the total of 87 cases, 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. Movement restrictions remain in place.

No new cases were recorded on Naviti Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 181 cases, 163 have recovered and 18 remain active. Daily monitoring of cases and their contacts by the health team continues. The villages on the island remain under strict movement restrictions.

No new cases were recorded on Waya Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 51 cases on the island, 31 cases have recovered and 20 cases remain active and under daily monitoring by the health team. Vaccination of adults continues and the island remains on movement restriction.

The Nacula Medical Area did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours. Of the 155 cases in the medical area, 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.

No new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 252 cases on the island, 176 cases have now been recovered and 75 cases remain active. The active cases and the 100 primary contacts and the 12 secondary contacts are under home isolation and daily monitoring from the health team. Vaccination for the villagers commenced today while the 14 days lockdown for affected villages with no new cases has been lifted. Movement restriction remains in force for Yanuca Island.

Ovalau Island did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours. The 2 positive cases are on Day 11 in the Isolation facility and monitored by the health team in Levuka. Four other individuals in quarantine have been re-swabbed and awaiting test results. Internal repatriation to Ovalau has been put on hold for now.

Public Updates and Advice:

As already announced, as the second dose coverage increases, local and international travel restrictions, and other social and workplace engagement restrictions are being eased. However, the public must remain cautious about how they engage in the greater freedoms that 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 should continue to closely observe our COVID safe measures and avoid contained spaces and crowds to avoid the risk of increased spread of the virus. 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.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services in preparation for easing of restrictions has remodeled health service provision to ensure:

  1. Strengthened quarantine capacity. The BHPU Facility has been established in the CAAF compound in Namaka, Nadi, and this facility will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing quarantine operations. Their function will be supplemented by a container laboratory that is situated close to the border health protection facility.  We are reviewing our quarantine protocols and conditions based on the science around the delta variant;
  2. Greater capacity for community surveillance through test trace and track protocols;
  3. Registration and line listing of vulnerable persons especially in poorly vaccinated areas;
  4. Monitoring of positive cases and vulnerable persons to ensure better access to appropriate care plans;
  5. Reviewing and strengthening clinical care protocols for severe disease;

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services Communication team together with our multi-agency community engagement team are working with community leaders to identify and strengthen mechanisms that will facilitate the monitoring of vulnerable persons and persons with covid like symptoms and help encourage them toward timely engagement of health care services so that medical teams have a greater opportunity to provide timely treatment.

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.

We encourage the public to persist in the practice of COVID-19 safety measures of wearing a mask when leaving your home, washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer, practicing the correct coughing and sneezing etiquette, maintaining safe physical distancing of 2 meters, ensuring that the careFIJI app is downloaded on your phone and enabled, and last but not least, getting all eligible individuals fully vaccinated.