HONIARA has recorded an additional 303 positive COVID-19 cases as of midday today (Monday 31st January) and three deaths.
This brings the country’s total number of positive COVID-19 cases to 1486 and the total number of deaths to nine.
However, Dr Togamana said based on the country’s testing capacity and reports from communities Honiara’s transmission rate could be more than 500 people infected per day.
He said a total of 71 positive COVID-19 positive patients are hospitalised at the National Referral Hospital across the four designated isolated facilities in the Isolation Wards.
“Other COVID-19 positive cases in the wards at the National Referral Hospital have been separated from the negative patients,” the Minister said.
He said as of yesterday (Sunday 30th January) 18 COVID-19 patients were on oxygen.
With regards to the nine COVID-19 related deaths, Mr Togamana said seven are unvaccinated, one with first dose and one fully vaccinated.
“The deaths are COVID-19 related because they have underlying health conditions and test positive for COVID-19 at the time of death,” he said.
He said three of the deaths that were recorded in the past 24hrs – two were from Kiluúfi Hospital and one at the Central Field Hospital.
“My heartfelt sympathies to families and friends.
“May God’s comfort and peace be with those who lost their loved ones in this difficult times and may his guidance and protection be with us all,” the Minister said.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 community transmission in Honiara and the Malaita Outer Islands, Dr Togamana said a total of 2850 COVID-19 tests were performed.
He said currently testing for the virus remains an integral part of the Ministry’s effort to fight against COVID-19.
Therefore, he said the Ministry is supporting all our provincial laboratories to repurpose their GeneXpert testing machines.
MHMS permanent secretary Pauline McNeil during the Radio Talkback Show yesterday said all laboratories in the provinces are equipped with GeneXpert testing machines.
Ms McNeil said these machines are purposely to test TB but will be configured to test for COVID-19.
She said only Kiluúfi Hospital is still using Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) but its GeneXpert testing machine operation is delayed by some hiccups on elements that are associated to the testing.
However, she said the ministry hoped that the machine should commerce operation this week.
With the provinces capability to do COVID-19 tests, Buala Hospital has commenced COVID-19 testing as of last week and has detected 10 COVID-19 positive cases – five from Buala and five from Sepi.
Dr Togamana said more samples are collected from contact tracing in Kia and Babahero and these have been transported to Buala today for testing.
In Tulagi, Central Islands Province, the Minister said 17 samples were sent to Honiara for testing and one was positive with COVID-19.
He said data from the other provinces are still to be collected.