Statement by Permanent Secretary for Health
Last Updated on 2 years by Publishing Team
Tuesday, 1st June 2021
In addition to the 26 cases announced today, we now report 9 new cases this evening.
5 of the cases are linked to the Navosai Narere cluster, and 1 to the Waila cluster. 1 is from the Nawaka cluster and works at Nadi hospital and 2 have been detected at CWM Hospital.
In addition to the Nadi hospital worker, further investigation has also revealed that a case announced over the weekend from the Nawaka cluster, who was discovered as part of screening and contact tracing in that area, had given birth and been discharged from the hospital a week ago. Furthermore, another previously announced positive case had spent significant time as a visitor in the hospital just prior to being positive. All staff and patients currently in the hospital are being tested. In response to these cases, the Nadi hospital will be locked down, and services will be relocated. Our Chief Medical Advisor will further elaborate on this matter tonight.
As stated 2 of the new cases of COVID-19 have been detected at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.
The first detected case is a patient from Labasa who was admitted at CWM six weeks ago. She was swabbed as part of the exit protocol before her scheduled transfer to Labasa Hospital. It is suspected that she caught the virus from either another patient, visitor or staff during her admission at CWM Hospital.
The second case at the CWM Hospital is a nurse. She developed symptoms and was swabbed and isolated as part of the hospital’s existing surveillance program. The nurse worked in a different part of the hospital to the positive patient, and at this early stage in the investigation, no connection has been made between her and the patient, or any known clusters.
As an early part of the response to the outbreak in Central Division – frontline health staff had been removed from their places of residence and housed in bubbles in accommodation facilities across Suva. These staff have been separated from their families for weeks on end in order to safeguard our essential health services. This nurse had been working within a bubble and was housed at the Holiday Inn.
The detection of these 2 cases within the hospital will require measures to secure the hospital and its staff and patients. The existing protocol for weeks has been to isolate every new admission and their carer, and have them swabbed and tested before allowing admission into wards within the hospital. Hospital staff were tested if they had symptoms, or if they were residents of an area with reported COVID-19 cases. Staff in the COVID-19 isolation ward were tested more regularly – with negative results required before ending their rotation through that ward.
In response to these recent cases, all patients, their carers, and all staff at CWM will now be swabbed and tested in order to gauge the extent of any spread within the hospital. This is an estimated 1200 people who will be tested overnight.
We are currently conducting evaluations to determine which areas with CWM need to be locked down and what services need to be curtailed, and we are establishing procedures to keep critical services functioning safely. For the time being, all non-emergency outpatient services will cease including the special outpatients department. The wards of concern in the East and West Wings have been put on lockdown. These are the Acute Medical Ward, Acute Surgical Ward, Beqa Ward, and ANZ Ward.
Emergency services will continue at CWM. The Emergency Department is functioning and inpatient pediatrics and obstetrics services will continue. The Maternity Ward and Children’s wing are still in operation but all access to these areas from other parts of the hospital have been closed. The data from the overnight testing will determine how the existing contingency plans will be reviewed and what further measures will be implemented.