The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong says their health care workers who would have spent this festive season with their families, are now on-call to protect lives and mitigate community transmission in the Northern Division.
Dr. Fong says there is an increasing number of cases in the North which is anticipated to continue to increase, demanding ongoing surveillance for early intervention to mitigate COVID-19 risks.
He says the lifting of containment borders between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, resulted in large numbers of travellers moving between the two main islands, life returned to some normalcy, and they saw some large sporting activities resume.
Dr. Fong says the increasing number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the Northern Division means the Health Ministry and the health care staff will be escalating the measures in place aimed at protecting residents of Vanua Levu from the severe effects of COVID-19.
The Permanent Secretary for Health adds their health care workers supported by other government officials from various government agencies in the north will be tracing contacts, caring for patients who develop severe disease, monitoring individuals under isolation, and spending time away from their families during this festive season.
He is calling on everyone in Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata to practice responsible social gatherings and adhere to COVID-19 safe measures.
Dr. Fong says it is best that people remain at home and celebrate with loved ones.
He says everyone in the north must assume that those around them are COVID-19 positive.
If you are in Vanua Levu and develop any symptoms of COVID-19, you should visit a screening clinic to be checked and tested by the medical teams, or call 158.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, fatigue/extreme tiredness, loss of taste or smell, headache, aches and pains, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, red eyes, skin rash.
Dr. Fong says testing will be prioritized for high-risk individuals, vulnerable and symptomatic persons, and household contacts and if you have any symptoms and are over the age of 50 years or you have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, asthma, are obese, or are pregnant.
He says as well as getting tested, people must isolate themselves from others if they have symptoms or they have had a contact with a case.
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