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COVID-19 testing strategy to target the containment areas of Suva, Nausori, Lami, Nadi, Lautoka and Ra

COVID-19 testing strategy to target the containment areas of Suva, Nausori, Lami, Nadi, Lautoka and Ra

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 07/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they will now be resetting their COVID-19 testing strategy to target the containment areas of Suva, Nausori, Lami, Nadi, Lautoka and Ra while areas outside of these zones will stop mass testing and revert to the testing protocol in place prior to the outbreak.

Doctor Fong says we must use all our resources to take the fight to where we know the outbreak is happening.

He says investigations have also revealed more about case 128, the nurse who works in Raiwaqa Health Centre.

All 37 staff of the centre have tested negative.

Following decontamination, they expect to re-open the facility to the public.

The nurse had careFIJI installed and kept it running while she was away from her home and at work.

She had told the ministry that she was diligent about mask-wearing.

He says this is a positive sign, though they are still aggressively tracing her movements and identifying those she had contacted.

Doctor Fong says her husband, who is case number 129, also had careFIJI installed, though for the most part, he did not travel.

He says the husband spent most days at home and by mostly staying home, it’s likely he’s cut off his own chain of transmission before it had a chance to begin.

The couple resides together in Kinoya with no other household members.

Doctor Fong says they have not linked either case to other patients.

He says there are a few points of interest in the nurse’s travel history, but none are definitive as a source point of transmission.

In response to these clusters, the mobile screening teams will be targeting the Makoi, Kinoya, Saru and Raiwaqa areas over the next several days.

The Health Ministry teams will go house-to-house checking individuals for COVID-like symptoms and asking simple questions to determine the travel history of Fijians in the area.

The results of the screening exercise will determine the need for a larger, more stringent lockdown.

He says that is a measure of absolute last resort that will be taken only if the data they obtain provide them with no other medical recourse. He knows these new cases may serve as a shock to many of us but they are evidence that the mobile and stationary screening exercises are actually working as they are flushing cases from the community.

Doctor Fong says you should assume there already is one case in your area. He says in fact, you should assume that you yourself have already been exposed to COVID-19. Wear a mask, maintain physical distance, install careFIJI and keep Bluetooth switched on, cough in your elbow or in a tissue that you immediately discard, avoid physical contact with anyone else if you can help it, and if you feel unwell, visit a screening clinic or call 158.

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