THE number of COVID-19 cases in Western Province has increased to eight.
Western Province Health and Medical Services acting Director Dr Michael Buin confirmed this today (Saturday 29th January).
Dr Buin said six new positive cases were detected from swabs collected from the crew members of MV Plus One, a vessel currently berthing in Gizo to offload fuel for Solomon Power.
However, he said the number is likely to increase as there are still more samples to be tested.
The other two positive COVID-19 cases are trainee nurses currently working at Soltuna Clinic. The nurses have since gone into self-isolation.
Dr Buin said with these results there is need to test more people in the province.
Unfortunately, he said the province with its limited capacity and resources could not be able to do this effectively.
“We really need more manpower to perform the task in the front line,” the director said.
Meanwhile, Provincial Secretary of Western Province and the Chairman of Western Provincial Disaster Oversight Committee (PDOC) Jeffrey Wickham urged Noro residents to take extra pre-caution because the virus is already at the community.
“Residents of Noro and Munda, given the fact that there are two positive cases in Noro who are also permanent residents, we believe that your areas are of very high risk and there is the possibility of the disease already spreading.
“Medical attention has been slow given the inadequate testing and Helena Goldie Hospital has no testing equipment.
“After lockdown is lifted Noro and Munda areas must strictly continue to observe all safety protocols,” Mr Wickham said.
Safety protocols residents urge to adhere to include:
- no unnecessary movement from house to house,
- only employed people are allowed to go out and
- must wear mask at all times and
- maintain social distancing
- residents must remain at home and should not gather or congregate.
“Soltuna workers you’re at very high risk of the virus and must observe strict safety measures despite being already vaccinated,” the chairman said.
He said Rawaki, Vonavona and residents from other parts of Western Province must not travel to Noro and Munda unless under special need and necessary circumstances.
By ULUTAH GINA
GIZO NEWS BUREAU