19 Jul 2021

Covid-19 cases, deaths continue to soar in Fiji

9:09 am on 19 July 2021

Fiji has reported 1043 new positive cases of Covid-19 for the last 24-hour period ending at 8am yesterday.

That compares with 1180 cases in the previous 24-hour period.

Fiji security forces monitor essential movement between red and green zones under Covid-19 response operations.

Fiji security forces monitor essential movement between red and green zones under Covid-19 response operations. Photo: Lice Movono

The government also confirmed last night a daily record 13 deaths, taking the death toll to 98 - 96 of them from this latest outbreak that began in April.

Health Secretary James Fong said five patients had received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while the rest were unvaccinated at the time of their deaths.

Fiji now has 13,610 positive people in isolation since this outbreak started in April.

Dr Fong said a 77-year-old woman from Toorak in the capital Suva was presented to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital Emergency Department in severe respiratory distress on 17 July.

Her condition worsened in the hospital and she died on the same day, he said.

"A 49-year-old man from Vatuwaqa in Suva was presented to the CWM Hospital in severe respiratory distress on 15 July. His condition worsened in the hospital and he died that same day.

"He had received the first dose of the vaccine on the 14th June, but he had not received the second dose."

Dr Fong said an 88-year-old woman from Nasinu died at home on July 14.

"The fourth death is a 68-year-old man from Cunningham. He was brought to the FEMAT field hospital on July 16 and declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer.

"This means that he died at home or on his way to the hospital. His family reported that he had been unwell with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath for at least seven days at home."

Dr Fong said a 76-year-old man from Laucala Beach was brought to the FEMAT field hospital in severe respiratory distress on July 16. His condition worsened in the hospital and he died on the same day.

His family reported that he had been feeling unwell with a cough at home, Dr Fong said. "He received his first dose of the vaccine on June 29 but had not received the second dose of the vaccine."

"A 65-year-old woman from Kinoya in Nasinu presented to the FEMAT field hospital in severe respiratory distress on July 17. Her condition worsened in the hospital and she died on the same day.

"She received the first dose of the vaccine in early-June. She had not received the second dose of the vaccine."

Residents look on as police check people are wearing face masks in Suva,  as a worsening outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus Delta variant has overwhelmed the South Pacific nation's largest hospital.

Residents look on as police check people are wearing face masks in Suva, as a worsening outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus Delta variant has overwhelmed the South Pacific nation's largest hospital. Photo: AFP or licensors

"A 69-year-old woman from Samabula in Suva presented to a medical facility in severe respiratory distress on July 17. She was retrieved by a medical team to the FEMAT field hospital. Her condition worsened and she died on the same day."

Dr Fong said the woman had received the first dose of the vaccine in early-July. She had not received the second dose of the vaccine.

"An 86-year-old man from Valelevu in Nasinu died at home on July 17. An 84-year-old woman from Raiwaqa in Suva also died at home on the same day.

"A 60-year-old woman from Nausori presented to a medical facility in severe respiratory distress on July 17. Her condition worsened at the medical facility and she died on the same day.

"A 77-year-old woman from Narere in Nasinu presented to a medical facility in severe respiratory distress on July 14. Her condition worsened at the medical facility and she died on the same day."

Her family reported that she was unwell with Covid-19 symptoms two days before her death, Dr Fong said.

"A 63-year-old man from Valelevu in Nasinu died at home on July 15. His family reported that he had been unwell with Covid-19 symptoms (cough and shortness of breath).

"He had received the first dose of the vaccine in early-June. He had not received the second dose of the vaccine.

"A 70-year-old woman from Toorak died at home on July 15."

Dr Fong said seven more deaths of Covid-19 positive patients, but their deaths have been classified as non-covid deaths by their doctors.

"Doctors have determined that these deaths were caused by serious pre-existing medical conditions and not Covid-19.

"There have now been 98 deaths due to the virus in Fiji, with 96 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year.

"We also have recorded 41 Covid-19 positive patients, who died from the serious medical conditions that they had before they contracted Covid; these are not classified as Covid-19 deaths."

Dr James Fong.

Dr James Fong. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

There have been 388 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 13,610 active cases, Dr Fong said.

He said there have been 17,444 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021.

"We have recorded a total of 17,514 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 3,765 recoveries.

"There are nine more deaths currently under investigation. These will be discussed once investigations (including test results) and classifications are complete."

Screening and testing

A total of 3,795 individuals were screened and 1,068 swabbed at the ministry's stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, Dr Fong said, bringing the cumulative total to 322,714 individuals screened and 55,408 swabbed to date.

He said the mobile screening teams had screened a total of 207 individuals and swabbed 290 in the last 24 hours.

"This brings our cumulative total to 716,965 individuals screened and 61,756 swabbed by our mobile teams to date.

"A total of 225,366 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 268,227 tested since testing began in March 2020."

Dr Fong said 4407 tests had been reported for 16 July, with testing number data for one laboratory still pending for 15 July.

He said based on available testing numbers, the national seven-day daily test average is 3860 tests per day or 4.4 tests per 1000 population.

"The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 24 percent and continues on an upward trend."

The World Health Organisation's test positivity rate is at five percent.

As of the 17 July, 393,095 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 78,624 have received their second doses, Dr Fong said.

"This means that 67 percent of the target population have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 13.4 percent are now fully vaccinated nation-wide."

"The 7-day average of new cases per day is 1000 cases per day or 1130 cases per million population per day. Average daily case numbers are increasing, together with cases of severe disease and deaths."

Dr Fong said people could check the ministry's vaccine dashboard to find real-time data on first-dose and second-dose numbers at the national, divisional and sub-divisional levels. http://bit.ly/3h2JfCZ

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,, Photo: Red Cross