Two children, aged four months and 15-years-old, with underlying health conditions from birth have died after contracting COVID-19.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says this is a sad reminder that high community transmission will put the most vulnerable at a higher risk of being infected, suffering from severe disease, and ultimately dying.
The four-month-old infant from the Western Division was brought to a remote nursing station on January 13th in a severely weakened state.
Doctor Fong says he was medically assessed and stabilized by the attending medical staff and a COVID test was done which was noted to be positive.
The PS says the baby passed away before he could be transferred to Lautoka Hospital, despite the resuscitation efforts of the attending medical staff.
He adds records show the infant had been born with medical complications and was lost to follow-up.
The 15-year-old who also died from COVID-19 is a male from the Central Division who was admitted to the CWM Hospital on January 17th.
He had a significant pre-existing medical condition that contributed to the worsening of his COVID-19 complications and died two days later.
There were nine other deaths recorded.
A 71-year-old female and a 50-year-old male from the Eastern Division died on January 15th and 16th January respectively.
The Central Division recorded four other deaths. These include an 83-year-old female, a 75-year-old female, a 67-year-old male, and a 54-year-old female. Three deaths were recorded on January 20th while one on the 21st.
Two deaths are from the Western Division. These include a 74-year-old female and a 64-year-old male. Both patients died on arrival at the Lautoka Hospital.
The 11th COVID-19 death is of an 80-year old female from the Northern Division, who died at Labasa Hospital on Sunday.
Dr Fong says these individuals were at a higher risk of severe disease due to their ages or underlying medical conditions. Five of the people who died were not vaccinated; one had only received his first dose, three were fully vaccinated, and two were not eligible for vaccination.
The Ministry recorded 987 cases in its recent update, of which 656 new cases were recorded on Saturday, 81 new cases were recorded on Sunday, and 250 new cases in the 24 hours ending at 8 am yesterday.
Of those, 859 cases were in the Central Division, 62 cases in the Western Division and 18 cases in the Northern Division.
The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 51.8 percent, much higher than the WHO’s five percent threshold.
The Permanent Secretary is pleading with the public to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 to protect our vulnerable by keeping up with the Vaccine Plus approach. This means getting fully vaccinated (which includes getting a booster shot when due) plus strictly adhering to the COVID transmission suppression protocols.