The National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara
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Health workers on ‘high alert mode’

COVID-19 test results this week indicates an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases mainly detected for both domestic arrivals from the provinces and pre-departures and testing at Honiara clinics.

This was highlighted by Health Minister Dr Culwick Togamana in his national address Thursday.

“For the domestic arrival and pre-departure screening at the domestic wharf, a total of 391 RAT tests were done today of which 17 were positive and 374 were negative,” Togamana said.

“Of the 17 positives, 6 were crews of MV Arnavon, another 6 includes 1 crew and 5 passengers of MV Nuatabu, 2 crews of MV Lezna, 2 passengers of MV Airi and 1 crew of MV Onogou,” he added.

“For domestic arrivals at Henderson airport, a total of 20 RAT tests were done and 1 was positive.

“For the pre-departure screening at Central Field Hospital (CFH), a total of 82 RAT tests were done and 2 were positive.

“This brings the total RAT tests done for domestic arrivals and pre-departures to 493 of which 20 were positive.”

Togamana also announced a family whose test results are considered to be new infections.

“Additionally, a 36-years-old, female, healthcare worker (HCW) who is a resident of Lord Howe Settlement tested positive on RAT along with her three children, a 4-years-old, a 7-years-old and another 8-year-old at the Mataniko Dental Clinic screening site.

“For further confirmation of rapid antigen positive tests, additional samples were collected for PCR testing on all 6 members of the family.

“All these infections are considered to be new infections.”

The Minister expressed health’s concern on the current situation.

“The current situation in Honiara is a matter of concern to us as one of the new infections recorded on Wednesday happened in an individual who was tested positive for COVID-19 in the past.

“Such re-infections are rare but can happen in individuals who have low body defense against COVID-19 or if another variant of the virus strikes the person.

“NRH and HCC are now on alert mode, increased testing is being carried out in selected communities such as Lord Howe.

“No lockdowns have been imposed for now but I am strongly urging the Lord Howe and Alligator Creek communities to start observing COVID safe practices protocols.

“Face masks have been distributed in Lord Howe community and will be provided in Alligator Creek community.

“Avoid unnecessary travel now within and in and out of Honiara.

“The samples from these new cases are being sent to Australia for variant determination and we will keep you briefed about the results once they become available.

“As part of health’s response to the current increase, 6 Anavon crews are being quarantined at the vessel and tests are being conducted for other crew members.

“The 6 positive cases on MV Nautabu are also being contacted for institutional quarantine in managed isolation spaces.

“The nurse and her three kids have been contacted and advised for home isolation.

“Contact tracing at Mataniko clinic has been conducted and close contacts have been advised for quarantine.

“The clinic is being closed for now until further investigations.

“Swabbing teams are being mobilized for swabbing the close contact of the nurse and her 3 kids at Lord Howe settlement.”

Togamana said all the symptomatic people in Lord Howe Settlement will be tested.

He added face masks have been distributed at Lord Howe settlement and with risk communication teams being mobilized to conduct swift awareness to the community on the situation.

“National Referral Hospital and Honiara City Council are now on high alert mode for COVID-19.”