Omicron may not be mild for our health system: Dr Fong

January 10, 2022 5:55 am

The number of positive cases recorded by the Health Ministry is an underestimate due to the priority testing regime.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they know they have an underestimate because of the tests conducted.

Doctor Fong says a high percentage of the results are positive, and this reflects the positivity rate, which is 41.4%.

Article continues after advertisement

He adds while Omicron may be mild for nearly everyone it infects, its faster rate of transmission means it may not be mild for our health system.

“Because even if the percentage of people who require hospitalization due to COVID-19 may be lower, as also seen in other countries, those who are unvaccinated and those with underlying health conditions who are not boosted may still suffer severe disease and burden our health system .”

Doctor Fong says given the high transmissibility of the variants Delta and Omicron, knowledge of case numbers and case distribution is less useful for determining what measures they should take to protect the public from exposure to COVID 19.

He adds that the other factors, such as the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, are important.

Permanent Secretary says anyone who tested positive or develop COVID-like symptoms is advised to self-isolate at home for seven days.

Doctor Fong says Fijians should begin the seven-day isolation period from the day they tested positive or from the day the symptoms began.

He adds that those that need to leave home for essential purposes, they can do so by wearing a mask, completing any essential business, and going straight back home.

The Permanent Secretary says if one is not experiencing severe symptoms, there is no testing required at the end of the seven-day self-isolation.

Contacts of cases do not need to self-isolate, but they should monitor themselves for symptoms and self-isolate if symptoms are present.