Fiji reports record 1220 cases in one day – covid death toll now 70

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Fiji's Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva
Fiji's Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva ... people with severe covid-19 are dying at home or going to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness. Image: Atu Rasea/The Fiji Times

By Josefa Babitu in Suva

Fiji has recorded 1220 new cases of covid-19 as at 8am today — the highest daily record so far — and five more deaths.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said the five people who had died from the virus were all aged over 60 and were not vaccinated.

He said the first death was a 61-year-old woman from Kinoya who died at home after being sick with generalised body pain, weakness, and sore throat for 10 days.

“The second covid-19 death to report is a 62-year-old man from Tacirua. He presented to the CWM Hospital emergency department in severe respiratory distress,” Dr Fong said.

He died in hospital on the same day (July 13). His family reported that he was unwell with fever, cough, and generalised weakness for three days prior,” he said.

“The third covid-19 death to report is a 66-year-old woman from Nabua who died at home on July 13. Her family reported that she was feeling unwell with a cough and shortness of breath for 3 days.

“The fourth covid-19 death to report is a 60-year-old woman from Verata who died at home on July 13.

Fifth death
“The fifth covid-19 death to report is a 78-year-old woman from Nauluvatu village. She was retrieved from home by a medical team and transferred to a healthcare facility. She was noted to be in severe respiratory distress. She died in the healthcare facility on the same day (July 13).”

The total death count has increased from 69 to 74 since yesterday morning, however, there are eight deaths of covid-19 positive patients that are still under investigation to determine if they had died due to the virus or other medical problems.

There are now 11,033 active cases of people who have been infected with covid-19, either at home or in dedicated facilities around Viti Levu.

Fiji has recorded 13,816 cases of the virus during the outbreak that started in April this year.

Dr Fong said people with severe covid-19 were dying at home or going to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness.

“Severe covid-19 is a medical emergency, and a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment reduces your chance of recovering from the disease,” he said.

With 213 people reported to have recovered from the virus, the ministry is more concerned that the daily test positivity rate continues on an upward trend.

Positivity rate 18pc
The country’s daily test positivity rate is at 18 percent — more than three times the World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold of five percent.

This means that there is widespread transmission of the virus.

“Based on available testing numbers, the national 7-day daily test average is 3772 tests per day or 4.3 tests per 1000 population. These numbers are expected to increase once all lab testing number data is received,” Dr Fong said.

“As of July 14, 377,090 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 73,127 have received their second dose.”

Fiji’s covid-19 case count stands at 13,886 since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 2,748 recoveries.

Josefa Babitu is a final-year student journalist at the University of the South Pacific (USP). He is also the current student editor for Wansolwara, USP Journalism’s student training newspaper and online publication. He is a contributor to Asia Pacific Report.

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