Cause for optimism over the long term: Dr Fong

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong announced 89 new coronavirus infections today, of which seven are unlinked and potentially represent new clusters, yet he expressed optimism for the future.

One of the factors he felt provides some reasons to be hopeful is that majority of the cases are happening within existing clusters or known contacts which allows for targeted lockdown. He pointed to the 82 linked cases today as a case in point.

“If we look inside the numbers, we can give ourselves a much clearer idea of exactly what is happening. But as long as we can maintain the integrity of the areas of isolation, we have a good chance of limiting or stemming the spread.”

Dr James Fong

Of the linked cases today, the highest number was recorded within the navy cluster at 19, followed by Nasinu Police Barracks at 17 and seven in Kinoya. The unlinked seven cases include two in Nausori, one each in Sakoca and Samabula and three are said to be primary contacts of an earlier case, although contact tracing teams are still to determine cluster link.

  • 82 Linked Cases: 
    • IMT: 9
    • Nasinu Police Barracks: 17
    • Waila: 6
    • Naitasiri: 1
    • Lami: 1
    • CWMH: 4
    • Caubati: 5        
    • Nawajikuma,Nadi: 6
    • Navy: 19
    • Navosai: 2
    • Grantham Road: 3
    • Kinoya: 7
    • Reservoir Road: 2
  • Unlinked Cases:
    • Nausori (2)
    • Sakoca (1)
    • Samabula (1)
    • 3 more cases are primary contacts of an earlier case, and the relevant contact tracing teams are investigating to determine the cluster link.

Dr Fong said Fiji’s testing capacity and being able to run more tests than any other country in Oceania is another factor to be optimistic about.

“Fiji is currently running 3000 tests every 24 hours compared to 120 at the same time last year. Fiji is testing more people per capita than any other country in Oceania.”

Second is the low number of severe cases in Fiji, which he believes could be a direct result of half the adult population receiving their first dose of the vaccine.

“It could also be attributed to the general good health of our youth, as healthy young people are generally less likely to get a severe case than older people.”

Dr Fong is urging all Fijians to support the fight against COVID19 by following COVID-safe practices, getting vaccinated, staying home as much as possible, and ensure that the CareFIJI App is active when leaving home.

Today as well, Fiji recorded its seventh non-COVID19 death after a positive patient admitted at the intensive care unit at CWM Hospital for a severe illness died.

“She tested positive for COVID-19 during her admission, but the doctors that treated her have ruled it out as her cause of death. Her cause of death is related to the severe illness for which was admitted and receiving treatment at the hospital.”

Twenty-three others were fortunate to have recovered, bringing to 860 total active cases in isolation. There have been 1136 cases during this outbreak that started in April 2021 and 1206 cases since the first case was reported in March 2020. There have been 335 recoveries and four deaths due to COVID-19.

In terms of testing, a total of 110,511 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 153,372 tested since early 2020.

2813 tests have been reported for June 13th. This number is expected to increase as more test number data is received from all laboratories. The national 7-day daily test average is 3339 tests per day or 3.8 per 1000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity increased to 2.1%.

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