Suva nurse tests positive as four new cases emerge
May 7, 2021 5:57 am
There are four new cases of COVID-19 in Fiji including a nurse from Raiwaqa Health Centre and her husband.
Both tested positive yesterday with no source point identified as yet.
The 47-year-old nurse was swabbed after she reported a slight cough. After her positive result registered yesterday, the Raiwaqa Health Centre is now closed to the public.
A contact tracing investigation has been launched, all relevant personnel and patients are being quarantined, with her household contacts have also been swabbed.
Health Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong, says the next local case is a 25-year-old nurse working within Lautoka Hospital.
“This nurse was sequestered within the hospital last night along with the rest of the hospital’s personnel and patients. Since her positive test results she has since been entered into isolation. Investigations are ongoing into how she might have caught the virus.”
He has also revealed that their testing has ruled out a breach of the Lautoka Hospital Isolation Ward after all staff have returned negative COVID-19 test results.
“This is a reassuring affirmation of the operational protocols for our COVID isolation ward, which must be maintained as the most secure facilities in the country. But that’s where the good news ends because this indicates that the community is the most likely source of the Lautoka Hospital outbreak.”
The fourth is a border quarantine case, a Tongan national who arrived from Guyana on his way to Tonga on April 22. This was the last inbound passenger flight (FJ 1410) from Auckland before flights were halted.
He is a travelling partner of a previously announced border quarantine case (Case 115).
There are now 42 active cases in isolation, nine in border quarantine, 29 locally transmitted cases, and four under investigation for their sources, including the deceased, one from Ra, one doctor from Lautoka Hospital and the nurse who tested positive yesterday.
The ministry also says it is now heavily restricting visiting hours at all hospitals and health centres in Fiji to limit mixing between patients, medical personnel, and the general public.
The Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team (FEMAT) has been activated and government medical carrier vessel, the MV Veivueti, has been dispatched to Lautoka to support healthcare management strategy within the Lautoka Containment Area.
The following is also being done:
• To cater for non-COVID patients, the ministry is setting up a 150-bed Non-COVID Field Hospital in Lautoka. The plan is have this open in 48 hours to handle patients with illnesses that can be treated on a 21-day timeline.
• Extending from that field hospital will be clear patient care flow pathways that allow for patients to be securely moved to other hospitals and healthcare facilities if necessary. Health Ministry will also manage staffing within the field hospital in response to patient demand.
• The Field hospital will enforce strict COVID screening and security to ensure it is a COVID-free facility, while the Lautoka Hospital remains exclusively a COVID care facility.
Doctor Fong says says he has also been talking to a number of private general practitioners in the Nadi-Lautoka-Ba area to open the doors of their clinics to those Fijians who normally cannot afford to visit a private practitioner.
“Under these soon-to-be finalised arrangements, patients who normally go to public hospitals and health centres can access non-COVID treatment or consultations at private clinics in Nadi, Lautoka, and Ba. Government will directly pay the private practitioners for the treatment and consultations provided for such people. Tomorrow, we will be announcing the names of the private doctors who have stepped up in solidarity with the Ministry to ensure our people can access the non-COVID care they require. I urge others I haven’t spoken with to call me. This is an opportunity for us to bring the public and private sector together at a time of urgent need for our people. Again, government will be footing the bill for the services that you provide these Fijians in-need. Most of you have my mobile number, call me and let’s get you on board.”
He says contingency plans have also been developed for a range of scenarios, including the need to expand capacity in the event of additional community cases in and outside of Lautoka, a severe weather event, or a COVID-leak in the field hospital.
“This is the first major operation for FEMAT in response to a national disaster, our teams are ready to show the nation what they can do.”
Mobile screening in Samabula
The ministry has also announced that as of now the non-essential businesses outside of the containment areas can not open, saying its not worth the risk as the virus spreads.
Nationwide, supermarkets, shops, banks, pharmacies, and other essential industries as previously announced, are the only businesses that should open.
“The costs of this outbreak are already unacceptably high, and I cannot stress enough how important early, preventive action is to stopping those costs from rising further. Early diagnosis of the virus can increase survivability. Early society-wide prevention measures can decrease widespread transmission. Wash your hands often, wear a mask in public, install careFIJI and keep it running every time you leave the home, and maintain physical distance at all times. The police have announced today they will be enforcing physical distance in public places and businesses. If you see a crowd, don’t add to the problem. Stay away. Better yet, don’t leave home at all. Stay home. My staff in Lautoka Hospital don’t have that privilege at the moment, so let’s honour their sacrifice by staying within the safety of our homes as much as possible.”
Mobile screening in Samabula
The Ministry of Health briefing the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama