Half of Fiji’s 345 covid deaths at home, report health officials

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Fiji health workers
Fiji health workers ... many people dying of covid-19 had not given healthcare workers a chance to treat them. Image: RNZ/Fiji govt

RNZ Pacific

Fifty percent of Fijians who died from covid-19 were at home at the time of their deaths.

The Fiji government said it had noted that many people dying of covid-19 had not given healthcare workers a chance to treat them.

The Health Ministry reported 398 new cases of covid-19 and five deaths for the 24 hours to 8am yesterday.

That compares with 568 cases and 13 deaths in the previous 24-hour period.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said there were enough ventilators in health facilities across the country to accommodate the covid patients.

“We got ventilators but unfortunately many people are dying from coronavirus at home or due to late presentations,” he said.

“Severe coronavirus is a medical emergency and a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment reduces your chance of recovering from the disease.

Plea to visit healthcare facilities
“If you have severe symptoms of coronavirus, please visit the nearest healthcare facility to get medical treatment. Call 165 if you are unable to travel to a medical facility.”

There have been 345 deaths due to covid-19 in Fiji, with 343 of those victims dying during the outbreak that started in April this year.

There have been 38,742 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021; and 38,812 cases recorded in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 14,301 recoveries.

Of the latest cases, Dr Fong said 254 were from the Western Division and 144 from the Central Division.

Dr Fong said of the five deaths, three were reported from the Central Division and two in the Western Division.

“There have been eight more deaths of covid-19 positive patients. However, these deaths have been classified as non-covid deaths by their doctors,” he said.

“There have been 345 deaths due to covid-19 in Fiji, with 343 of those deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year.”

300 in hospital
“There have been 38,742 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021; and 38,812 cases recorded in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 14,301 recoveries.”

Dr Fong said there are 300 patients admitted to the hospital — 62 at Lautoka Hospital, 67 at the FEMAT field hospital and 171 patients at the CWM, St Giles and Makoi hospitals.

He said 41 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and nine in critical condition.

He said as of August 9, a total of 513, 535 adults in Fiji had received their first dose of the vaccine and 180,722 had received their second doses.

“This means that 87.5 percent of the target population have received at least one dose and 30.8 percent are now fully vaccinated nation-wide,” Dr Fong said.

Drop in daily cases
Meanwhile, the ministry noted a drop in cases reported daily recently.

Dr Fong said the seven-day average of new cases per day is 730 cases per day or 825 cases per million population per day.

This figure fluctuated at least over the past week, Dr Fong said with numbers recorded in four-digits at the height of soaring infections reported largely in the Central Division, and spiking numbers in the West.

Just a week ago, Dr Fong was reporting the following seven-day average of new cases:

  • Tuesday, August 3: 1220 new cases reported in 24 hours; Seven-day average of new cases per day – 1085 cases per day or 1226 cases per million population per day
  • Wednesday, August 4: 1187 new cases reported in 24 hours; Seven-day average of new cases per day – 1103 cases per day or 1247 cases per million population per day
  • Thursday, August 5: 968 new cases in 24-hour reporting period; Seven-day average of new cases per day – 1156 cases per day or 1193 cases per million population per day
  • Friday, August 6: 752 new cases in 24-hour period; Seven-day average of 997 cases per day or 1127 cases per million population per day
  • Saturday, August 7: 682 new cases in 24-hour period; Seven-day average of new cases per day – 934, or 1056 cases per million population per day
  • Sunday, August 8: 657 new cases in 24-hour period; Seven-day average of new cases per day is 938 cases per day or 1060 cases per million population per day
  • Monday, August 9: 603 new cases in 24-hour period; Seven-day average of new cases per day is 867 cases per day or 980 cases per million population per day.

Test numbers dropping
Dr Fong said while they had noted a drop in recent cases reported per day, their daily testing numbers had also been dropping around the same time.

He attributed this to the change in testing policy in the Suva-Nausori containment area.

Dr James Fong.
Fiji’s Dr James Fong … “resources [being] targeted to early detection, monitoring and care of persons with covid-19, who are at higher risk of severe disease.” Image: RNZ/Fiji govt

Fiji’s Dr James Fong … “resources [being] targeted to early detection, monitoring and care of persons with covid-19, who are at higher risk of severe disease.” Image: RNZ/Fiji govt[/caption]

Dr Fong said, as announced on July 21, only persons that have a higher risk of developing severe covid-19 were being tested in Suva-Nausori.

“This was done so that resources could be targeted to early detection, monitoring and care of persons with covid-19, who are at higher risk of severe disease, to prevent more people succumbing to severe disease and death,” Dr Fong said in an epidemic outlook of the pandemic in the country.

“We are likely seeing the effect of this testing policy change now in Suva-Nausori with the drop in daily reported cases.

“This does not mean that the outbreak is on a downward trend in the Suva-Nausori community.”

Dr Fong said daily case numbers in Suva-Nausori were not being used as an indicator at present to monitor the progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori.

Closely monitoring
“The ministry is closely monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori.

“Test positivity in Suva-Nausori was between 40-50 percent before the change in testing policy and has remained at this high level, which is above the national average.

This is one indicator of the continuing high level of community transmission in this area.

“Dr Fong said testing levels in the Western Division remained high with 3.8-4 tests per 1000 population per day at a 7-day average.

“We are seeing increasing cases reported in the Western Division with evidence of widespread community transmission in that division.

“We are also recording increasing numbers of people with severe disease and deaths in the West.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) test threshold is five percent.

Dr Fong urged the people to continue to adhere to covid-19 safety protocols and restrictions put in place.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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