THE National Referral Hospital has now activated to emergency mode yesterday following the resurgence of COVID cases in Honiara with Lord Howe Settlement as a current hotspot.
Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr Culwick Togamana on Tuesday night said the Ministry’s health team is considering this resurgence as second wave of COVID infection following the noticeable increase in COVID cases since Wednesday last week.
Dr Togamana said this new outbreak in Honiara has already registered 149 cases of COVID-19 from Wednesday 13th April to Sunday 17th April.
He said of the 149 cases, 45 are from the Lord Howe Settlement and 104 from other pockets of residences in Honiara.
“There may be some duplication of the case count as some of the newly diagnosed people have received positive tests twice for confirmation. These cases will be taken out as we continue to do data cleaning,” the Minister said.
He added that before Wednesday 13th April, positive cases average from only three to five cases per day in Honiara.
However, in the past seven days, he said the figure has peaked to around more than 13 cases per day.
“This is quite a substantial increase and so our view is that this is typical of a second wave,” Dr Togamana said.
He said his Ministry had also recorded an increase in hospitalisation at the National Referral Hospital in the past six days from only two to three admitted patients last week to 22 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday 19th April.
“More concerning is that amongst these COVID-19 patients are children below 18 ears and as young as 5-years-old,” the Minister said.
Of the 22 COVID-19 patients admitted at the National Referral Hospital, nine patients are managed at the Golden COVID Ward, seven patients are managed at the Orthopaedic Ward, one at the Labour Ward, two at the Postnatal Ward, one at the Antenatal Ward, one at the Special Care Nursery. No patients are at Central Field Hospital.
With the National Referral Hospital now on emergency mode, the Central Field Hospital is on operationally ready mode to handle surge in the number of COVID cases.
“Given our experience in the first wave we are also expecting increased of hospitalisation as cases will continue to increase in the coming days and weeks,” the Minister said.
He added that such resurgence of COVID cases or second wave of infection could stem from the following sources;
“First the re-infection, meaning people infected previously with COVID-19 delta variant are once again re-infected. However, while this is possible, it is very rare.
“Second the entry and community spread of a new COVID-19 variant other than delta, which has been the case of the outbreak in early January this year.
“Third, those patients when infected with COVID-19 have also developed new variant and spreading to others, sparking a new wave of infection,” the Minister said.