One tests positive as CDC testing still suspended
May 15, 2021 10:12 am
A Police Officer keeps watch on movement [Source: Fiji Police Force]
There is one positive case of COVID-19 today as an investigation has started into the potential for further exposure of at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
The new case is a household member of the Lakena cases reported on Thursday, and he was already in isolation at Navua Hospital when he registered a positive result.
The Health Ministry says given his first test upon entering quarantine was negative, they do not view him as a high-risk case for wider transmission.
Health Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong, says while no other staff apart from the three earlier, have tested positive, they are in the process of deep cleaning and decontaminating the centre in line with advice received from the reference laboratory in Melbourne and as a result there will be no testing onsite for at least another 24 hours.
“The Fiji CDC is where we process the vast majority of COVID-19 tests. With the facility temporarily offline yesterday, the volume of our testing has decreased. Though testing has continued at Tamavua Twomey Hospital, CWM Hospital, Labasa Hospital and Lautoka Hospital. The CDC handles the bulk of our testing, and we’re focused on bringing it back online as soon and as safely as possible.”
The Fiji CDC
Doctor Fong says regardless of the temporary lull we expect in swab processing, it remains vital that we use the next four days to identify and swab the contacts of existing cases in Suva and Nausori.
“That is much easier when we know everyone is securely at home. And until we have a clearer idea of the extent of transmission in the Suva-Nausori area, this lockdown serves the dual purpose of putting a firm halt on further spread. There may be community cases we do not know about. Keeping these potentially-positive people at home is the safest course of action. So the lockdown of Suva and Nausori is still scheduled to begin tonight at 11pm and end at 4am on Wednesday the 19th of May. We’re going to use that window to trace and swab. Those are the marching orders Ministry-wide. Trace. Swab. Repeat. Those swab results will go for processing at our operational testing sites until the Fiji CDC is fully back up and running. The results of that exercise will inform our next steps.”
The Health Chief says at this stage, he has not made a recommendation either way on the lockdown measures expanding to other areas or lengthening in duration.
He says if you are living in Suva or Nausori and you find yourself feeling unwell at any point through the next four days, call 158.
“A team will visit you, or you may be referred to a screening clinic. Travel is permitted for medical emergencies we have made that clear from day one of this outbreak. So everyone can receive treatment if they need it, that has always included kidney dialysis patients who need to travel to receive life-sustaining treatment.”
He also says people need to play a part.
“For Suva and Nausori, this lockdown must be decisive. It can be if everyone cooperates. The Fiji Police Force will be enforcing the stay-at-home order on the streets. But the Police cannot be in every community. They cannot stop every needless and potentially deadly interaction between different households. Only you those living in Suva and Nausori, can hold yourselves accountable every hour of every day of this lockdown. I’d bet that some of you will receive a call or a text asking you to come over, hang out, or otherwise violate the lockdown measures. Don’t do it. I’m telling you now, those asking you to break your bubble do not really care about you, they certainly do not care about the country. Ignore them. If you see gatherings of any size, report them. Those meet-ups can wait until they no longer put lives at-risk. Keep your bubble small. Keep yourselves safe. Keep the faith, Fiji, in science and in each other.”