COVID-19: Two Lautoka doctors test positive for the virus; close household contacts quarantined

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary, Dr. James Fong speaks to the media on the latest cases of COVID-19 during a press conference at the Ministry of Health headquarters conference room at Dinem House in Toorak, Suva on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Picture: FILE/JOVESA NAISUA

Two doctors at the Lautoka Divisional Hospital are the latest cases of COVID-19 infection that were announced by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services this evening.

Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong said the first is a 25-year-old female doctor who presented at a screening clinic today with COVID-like symptoms.

He said she tested positive for the virus a few hours ago.

And the second is a 30-year-old male doctor who was tested as part of contact tracing for the first doctor.

“Both doctors have been entered into isolation and their close household contacts have been quarantined,” Dr Fong said.

“We are early into our investigation, but at this stage, they do not appear to have any links to existing cases or events of interest, such as the Tavakubu funeral.

“Also, while they did work in the hospital, they did not work in the isolation ward where they would have had interaction with COVID-positive patients. So while we are very early into this investigation, we must treat these cases as instances of community transmission until it is proven otherwise.”

Dr Fong said all contacts within the hospital would be screened, tested, and isolated as appropriate.

“As you can imagine, this is a massive and complex undertaking for the Lautoka hospital team, and we are providing the support they need. This includes sending in medical teams from other medical facilities to replace staff who have been identified as close contacts of these cases and stood down to be isolated.”

Dr Fong said as frontline healthcare workers, both doctors had received the first dose of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.

However, he said Medically, neither doctors were considered “vaccinated” yet given that one needs two doses of this vaccine – given 10-12 weeks apart – to be considered fully vaccinated and to develop the protective immune response conferred by the vaccine.

“For either of them to be protected, they must be fully vaccinated. For Fiji to be protected, we must fully vaccinate our eligible population.”

Quick facts as at Monday, May 3, 2021:

  • Two new cases to report today
  • With these latest cases, Fiji now has 51 active cases in isolation
  • 16 border quarantine cases
  • 31 locally transmitted cases
  • 4 under investigation to determine source of transmission
  • Fiji now has 121 cases in total
  • 68 recoveries and 2 deaths since the first case was announced on March 19, 2020
  • A total of 54,988 tests conducted since testing began in 2020
  • 970 average daily tests conducted in the last 7 days
  • 5995 weekly average tests over the last 2 weeks
  • Record 6821 tests conducted in the last week
  • 1736 tests conducted yesterday alone (Sunday, May 2, 2021)

(Source: Dr Alisha Sahu-Khan, COVID-19 daily press briefing, May 3)

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