People are advised to continue to follow the COVID safe protocols as there are many COVID-19 cases in the community, and with these increasing numbers in the community, our most vulnerable are at higher risk of being infected and suffering from severe disease.
When asked by Legend FM News on whether the total positive cases released by the Ministry includes those tests conducted at the private labs in the country, Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says only the PCR test data is collected. He says many people do Rapid Antigen Tests or just work on their symptoms. These test results are not included in the figures released by the Ministry of Health.
Please clear any misconceptions if you or others you know think that there are only 2,575 active COVID cases in the country, as there are many other positive cases around.
A 4-month-old baby and an unvaccinated 15-year-boy with underlying health conditions were the latest deaths of concern announced by the Ministry.
Doctor Fong says they know that severe disease is rare in children but this risk increases should they have significant underlying health conditions.
He also says they continue to record lower than expected hospitalizations due to COVID-19 despite the current resurgence in COVID-19 cases throughout Fiji.
Doctor Fong says this decoupling of the relationship between cases and severe outcome is a result of the protection afforded by the vaccination program.
He says the reported deaths (including the 4 month old and the 15-year-old) have been confined to individuals with high medical risk and who have died, either at home, on the way to the hospital, or within a few days of admission.
The Permanent Secretary says these 2 factors (comorbidity and adverse health-seeking behaviour) also make it difficult to narrate more precisely the extent to which COVID 19 contributes to the death of patients.
Doctor Fong says by vaccinating and maintaining our COVID safe measures we protect the vulnerable among us.
He says the Ministry has mentioned in the past that the vaccines are 80 percent protective against severe disease and death and not 100 percent.
Doctor Fong says as such, if community transmission is high enough, rare outcomes will be more visible.
The Permanent Secretary is strongly advising people over the age of 50, pregnant women and those with non-communicable diseases that develop any COVID-19 symptoms to please come forward to be tested and reviewed by medical teams.
Symptoms include cold or flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, body ache and fever.
There have now been 84 COVID-19 deaths reported during the third wave.
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