Covid-19: Three more deaths in Solomons as outbreak ‘overwhelms’ health staff

SI Minister of Health Culwick Togamana
Solomon Islands Minister of Health Culwick Togamana ... “For the Western Province, a surge in flu-like illness was noted in Rukutu village." Image: SIBC/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

Three more people have died of covid-19 in Solomon Islands raising the national tally to five.

Health authorities confirmed the country’s first two deaths on Tuesday.

During a media conference last night, Health Minister Dr Culwick Togamana said the government was expecting more cases in the coming days.

He said community transmission was now widespread in the capital Honiara and some provincial areas.

“For the Western Province, a surge in flu-like illness was noted in Rukutu village where we suspect a recent gathering involving those who travelled from Honiara and may have transmitted covid-19.

“Our team has reached the village, distributed face masks, advised on covid-19 safe measures and collected samples for testing in Gizo.”

He said health officials were still waiting on lab results from Australia to determine the variant they are dealing with in the current outbreak.

Loss of staff a challenge
Dr Togamana said loss of staff had added challenges to the already overwhelmed health system.

More than 100 frontline workers in Solomon Islands have been infected with covid-19 and are isolating.

“Our only national referral hospital [Honiara] is now compromised. Many staff from the Ministry of Health also tested positive and continue to work from isolation,” he said.

“Guadalcanal health teams have also reported six of its workers isolated at Good Samaritan — four have tested positive while the remaining two await the results.”

Dr Togamana said 24 Honiara City Council health workers had also tested positive with covid-19.

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

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