COVID-19 resurgence situation update; Cases continue to increase; 2 hospitalizations; no fatalities
Following the resurgence of COVID-19 cases since the 24th of October, as previously reported, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Surveillance Department, continues to record increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Honiara and parts of Guadalcanal with Temotu province reporting their first few locally transmitted cases last week, as well.
From the 1072 persons who got tested in Honiara from the 24th of October to the 8th of November, a total of 105 positive tests were recorded. There are no persons hospitalized with COVID-19 and no COVID related deaths reported by the National Referral Hospital since the new surge in cases.
Temotu Province reported 235 COVID-19 cases from the 5th to 7th of November. There are additional cases reported from Tikopia and Dendu Area Health Centres that will be added to this number once reports have been processed.
In terms of admissions, two (2) cases are hospitalized at the Lata hospital and are in a mild condition, one with underlying health conditions.
There are no reports from other provinces on COVID-19, however with the inter-island travels there is a high chance that the current resurgence in Honiara and Temotu may spread to other provinces.
As highlighted in the recent media release last week, genome sequencing to identify the type of variant from samples sent overseas showed Omicron sub-variant BA.4 and BA.5 as the predominant variants causing the resurgence.
To date, these sub-variants do not appear to be causing more severe disease; however, they do spread easily.
As such MHMS would like to reiterate COVID-19 safe measures which include:
• Wear face masks in public spaces and on public transportation at all times if possible
• Frequent hand washing with soap or hand sanitizer at all times
• Cough into bent elbow or tissue and dispose of it properly at all times
• Implement social distancing of at least two (2) meters
• Avoid large gatherings as much as possible.
• Get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to get vaccinated at your nearest health clinic and those who are fully vaccinated should get a booster
Schools and workplaces and other spaces and places where people congregate are to uphold these measures.
Parents and guardians are urged to keep their children at home if they see signs of coughing, runny nose, and fever and take them to the nearest clinic if these symptoms worsen.
The National Medical Store are ensuring rapid test kits are available across health facilities.
The COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide good protection against severe disease and those who have not had the full course should strongly consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones. Even though this Omicron subvariant BA.5 does not appear to be the cause of more severe disease than previous subvariants, we need to continue protecting those most of risk including people over 60 years and those with illnesses that affect their immunity.
If you develop severe symptoms of COVID such as difficulty breathing, immediately seek care and nearest health facility.