Community likely source of Lautoka Hospital outbreak
May 7, 2021 5:37 am
The Health Ministry has ruled out a breach of the Lautoka Hospital Isolation ward after all staff returned negative COVID-19 test results.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong says this is a reassuring affirmation of the operational protocols of their COVID isolation ward – which must be maintained as the most secure facilities in the country.
Dr Fong says this indicates the community is the most likely source of the Lautoka Hospital outbreak.
“In the early phase of our containment strategy, we hoped to break the early chains of transmission quickly by tracing and testing primary and secondary contacts of existing cases. We have always screened carefully for symptomatic cases among the community as well, however, this surge in cases of unknown origin demands that we develop much stronger mechanisms of community surveillance.”
Dr Fong adds they’re going to become more judicious in their testing of all Fijians with COVID-like symptoms, regardless of their connection to existing patients.
“But the thing about “community” surveillance is that it requires the community. It requires that all of us are fully invested in the containment of the virus. Screening clinics can be opened, but it takes the initiative of an ill patient to come forward for us to find them. Mobile screening teams can be dispatched, but my teams work far better and quicker when people are honest with them and the public is cooperative.”
Following the spate of COVID cases among healthcare workers, the PS says they are taking urgent steps to prevent more health facilities from becoming source points of new outbreaks.