Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong confirms 91 new COVID-19 cases have been reported between 6 o’clock Wednesday night and 8 o’clock yesterday morning.
Doctor Fong says they are shifting to a new daily reporting format that will replace the current evening public reporting of the consolidated cases for the day.
He says from today, the new daily cases will be reported to the public at 3pm for the 24 hour reporting period of 8am to 8am.
Doctor Fong says this will allow the teams to investigate new cases and gather information to share with the public in a more efficient manner.
He says sadly, a 76-year-old man has died due to COVID-19.
The man was admitted at the CWM Hospital and had a severe pre-existing medical condition.
Doctor Fong says his cause of death has been assessed by his doctors to be due to COVID-19.
This is the 4th death due to COVID-19 during this current outbreak.
49 of the new cases reported have been confirmed in the existing clusters.
1 case is from the Waila cluster, 5 from the Rewa Operations Centre cluster, 1 from the Vunivivi cluster, 2 from the Nasinu Police Barracks cluster, 4 from the Korovou cluster, 13 from the Navosai cluster, 17 from the CWM Hospital cluster, 4 cases from the Tramline, Nadi cluster, 1 case from the Grantham Road cluster and 1 case from the Town House hotel cluster.
36 cases have been identified as primary contacts of earlier cases, and the respective response teams are determining the cluster link.
This includes 3 cases from Veisari Lami and 5 cases from Delainavesi, Lami.
Doctor Fong says 1 case from Vusuya, Rewa, 1 case from Namuka-i-Lau, Lami, 1 case from Lami village, 1 case from Waikerekere, Lami and 2 cases from Raiwaqa are also under investigation.
A review of cases recently reported from Nadi has revealed a duplicate entry for 1 case, therefore the duplicate has been removed from the active and total case count.
64 COVID-19 cases have recovered, which means there are now 1068 active cases in isolation.
There have been 1,463 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021.
Fiji has recorded a total of 1533 cases since the first case was reported in March 2020.
There have been 452 recoveries and 6 deaths due to COVID-19.
A total of 7 COVID-19 positive patients have died from pre-existing non-COVID-19 related illnesses.
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says Fiji’s border quarantine facilities and protocols have been exhaustively reviewed to protect against transmission stemming from individuals entered into quarantine or isolation.
The quarantine capacity is to be capped at 300, and this will be reviewed as and when appropriate. Doctor Fong says hotel workers deemed as high-risk will include housekeeping staff, maintenance, and reception staff and will be accommodated within the quarantine facility.
He says CCTV coverage has been upgraded in selected quarantine facilities, for improved monitoring and surveillance.
Doctor Fong says all infection prevention protocols have been reviewed in all quarantine facilities and a refresher program has been carried out for all Hotel, Military and Health staff.
He says internal reviews of the standard cleaning and disinfection protocols and the food and amenities delivery and exchange protocols for quarantine facilities have been conducted.
The Permanent Secretary says new mitigation measures have been introduced to address the risk related to transmission of the virus within tightly contained spaces within quarantine facilities in the course of operations and frontline surveillance reporting, which includes mandatory reporting for staff on leave, has been strengthened.
He says routine surveillance swabbing of all quarantine facility workers, health officials, military, and transfer companies will step-up from a fortnightly basis to a weekly basis (once every 7 days), to ensure early identification and appropriate management of cases.
They have escalated immunization rates for quarantine facilities and personnel – 90% of hotel workers, 100% of transfer drivers and 100% of health workers and military personnel are fully vaccinated.
Doctor Fong says well-run quarantine facilities with adequate bed capacity are critical to the containment of COVID-19.
He is asking the public’s cooperation in establishing quarantine facilities.
Doctor Fong says we are all safer when suitable facilities are open and available to cater for Fijians who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
He says their mitigation strategy continues to rely on the women and men, doctors, nurses, contact tracers and members of our disciplined forces who serve on the frontlines.
Doctor Fong says while they are provided with the proper personal protective equipment, they face a risk to their health and wellbeing every day of their service to the nation.
He is also making a strong appeal to our health officials to remain resolute in their purpose, their professionalism, and patience in their service to the public.
Doctor Fong says their two-month battle against this outbreak has demanded great sacrifices from all of them, but it has also saved countless lives.
He says in the line of duty, you may encounter moments of frustration.
Doctor Fong urges you to meet those moments with compassion.
The Health Ministry says it is disturbed by some reports of impolite and inappropriate conduct by some of the frontline officials, including those administering vaccines.
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they apologise if there have been any shortcomings or unprofessional lapses in their service delivery.
He says they are constantly seeking to improve their services and they will not allow these incidents to define the professionalism of their overall effort.
Meanwhile, Doctor Fong says they have made excellent progress to date with more than 250,000 people in Fiji receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and many more have been screened and tested.
He says they have set a standard of professional conduct that has inspired confidence from the Fijian people, and that must remain the benchmark for their engagement with the public.
Doctor Fong says it is their mission to offer the full protection of vaccines to every eligible individual in Fiji and they cannot allow that mission to be compromised by reports of unprofessional conduct.
He says every Fijian who makes the decision to come forward to be vaccinated or swabbed to protect themselves, their loved ones and the country should be applauded, and these patriotic Fijians, regardless of their background or status, deserve nothing less than the full measure of their empathy and courtesy.
The Permanent Secretary says we are all on the same team in the fight against the virus and victory can only be achieved together.
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