Death of 21yo linked to high community transmission: Health

A 21-year-old man who was one of 16 people who recently died of COVID-19 was fully vaccinated and had no known underlying health conditions, a rare event that Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says occurs when cases in the community are very high.

The 21-year-old from the central division was reported to have died at his home on Sunday 16 January. A sample collected after death tested positive for COVID-19.

Fiji’s vaccination rates, Dr Fong says whilst high and will provide protection against severe disease, however, people who are over the age of 50 or have significant chronic illness still have a higher risk of severe disease.

“And sadly, when cases in the community are very high, rare events also occur, such as severe illness and deaths in the young without significant chronic illness,” Dr Fong said.

“We saw this during the second wave and we are now beginning to see this in the third wave. We urge everyone to take heed of the advice on how to prevent yourself and others from getting infected and developing severe disease. And we ask everyone to be aware of the symptoms of severe COVID-19 disease, and to immediately seek medical care if they are having trouble breathing (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), ongoing chest pain, severe headache, confusion, inability to stay awake or wake up, pale, grey or blue-colored skin, lips or fingernails, worsening weakness, coughing blood.”

The increasing deaths, Dr Fong says including the death of a 21-year-old person, is a sad reminder of the ongoing toll this virus has taken on individuals and our community.

Since the beginning of the third wave, Fiji has reported nearly 7,000 cases.

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