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One more COVID-19 death as four test positive, including CDC staff

May 14, 2021 5:50 am
A Police officer keeps an eye on the movement of people during shopping in Suva. Picture By: Fiji Police Force

The Makoi woman who had tested positive earlier this week of COVID-19, has died.

This on a day, Fiji recorded four more cases of COVID-19, which includes three staff of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), resulting in a temporary halt of testing in Suva.

The woman is the second casualty during this second wave, after a man from Lautoka died last week, and brings to four, the total number of deaths since our first case last year.

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Health Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong, says on Wednesday night, the woman was entered into intensive care after her condition began rapidly deteriorating and despite the best efforts of her attending physicians, she didn’t survive.

 “We informed this woman’s family of her passing and offered them our sincere condolences well before making this announcement to the nation, as we wanted them to have time to process this privately. Tonight, I offer the nation my Ministry’s total commitment to spare as many families as we can from the tragedy of seeing loved ones lost to this terrible disease.” 

Apart from this, Makoi continues to generate more interest, as one of the cases who tested positive yesterday had presented to Oceania Hospital with symptoms.

Doctor Fong says, “At this early stage of the investigation this case has no known links to other cases. The Oceania Hospital outpatients department was temporarily closed yesterday for contact tracing and decontamination. Anyone who potentially had contact with this case at the hospital has been quarantined.”

There is another case from Makoi and is an administration staff member of Fiji CDC along with two others.

“According to Fiji CDC protocol he was tested after returning this week from annual leave. The next two cases are administrative staff at the Fiji CDC who had tested negative during routine testing earlier this week, but tested positive as part of contact tracing for this new case. The three staff who have tested positive for the virus have been transferred to isolation facilities.”

Doctor Fong says, their investigation so far indicates that this cluster originated outside of the Fiji CDC and the virus was then brought in.

“This as would be an expected consequence of community transmission. Apart from these three cases, all other Fiji CDC staff have tested negative so far, including all of the laboratory and medical staff in the centre.”

He says while they know that there was limited contact between administration staff and the lab personnel due to existing protocols.

“As a result of these cases, Fiji CDC has been sequestered, with staff onsite, or placed in quarantine facilities. Testing has temporarily halted while decontamination is being completed. The onsite staff will continue processing samples after decontamination of the facility and they will be tested and retested frequently during their sequestration period, similar to what is happening at Lautoka Hospital. “

The ministry has also clarified that thousands of Fijians received text alerts alerting them that they may have had contact with some of the new cases confirmed at Extra Supermarket.

“Our contact tracing investigation has since narrowed that number of contacts, and we have let some of those people know they are no longer considered to be at high risk of exposure –– but I hope that experience has taught everyone how easily even one case can spark an outbreak, and how high the risks of leaving your bubble can be.It has also taught us how vitally important it is for us all to be using the careFIJI app, with our Bluetooth switched on, whenever we are in public. There are currently 52 known active cases of COVID-19 in the country. From that number of cases, there are already thousands of primary and secondary contacts, stretching my contact tracers to their limit. careFIJI eases that growing burden. Its technology does not depend on the limits of human labour. The app does not get tired. It does not take breaks. It works 24/7 to save your life, and the lives of your loved ones, by stopping the spread of the virus as quickly as possible.  It does not drain your battery. It does not burn through your data. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.”

The lockdown for the Suva and Nausori containment zones will start at 11pm today and end at 4am Wednesday. This is because of the rapidly rising number of contacts stemming from new cases of COVID-19 in the Suva-Nausori area.

Food rations will be available during the later stages of the lockdown period for Fijians living within the Suva-Nausori Lockdown Zone who have a genuine need for an emergency food supply.

Doctor Fong has not as yet said what platform will be used and expected to announce this later.

“Outside of the lockdown zone, the borders of our other containment areas will remain firmly in place for the foreseeable future. We believe this virus is still circulating in Nadi, in Lautoka, in Rakiraki, in Lami and, potentially, throughout the rest of Viti Levu. As announced yesterday, to further restrict movement, the 6pm until 4am curfew will take effect from this Saturday for the rest of Viti Levu.”

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