The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), National Health Emergency Operation Centre, National Referral Hospital (NRH) Emergency Centre including frontline workers, doctors and nurse, swabbers and contact tracers, public health officers and others are working our very best to address the current COVID-19 community transmission in Honiara and Malaita outer Islands and possible threats to several of our provinces.
There is no hiding the fact that only a day or two after confirming a community transmissions that resources are pretty much stretched and what is available and functioning is used by all means to its fullest potential and limits to try the very best to determine the magnitude of spread and bring the transmission under control.
We are aware and we sympathize with many people today (20th January) who have been swabbed including our very own medical workers at NRH and waited for very long hours, for some even a whole day, to get their COVID-19 test results before either cleared to leave or moved to isolation. We are trying our very best.
Note that delays with tests yesterday and this morning that is still ongoing are due to NRH having to test many of the medical workers whom have been recommended for testing based on risk assessment including patients exposed to the positive cases, let alone samples from suspected cases and close contacts of positives from the public.
Additionally, tests done must not be rushed but done properly to ensure safety of lab technicians as well as for accuracy of results.
Yesterday alone since the morning over 300 samples have been collected and underwent testing and samples keep on coming and testing is continuing as of this morning. It was always evident that we have limited laboratory capacity and we are thriving to increase the test that can be done.
It is important to swiftly test medical workers of COVID-19 so that they are cleared and immediately resume their duties without posing any risks to the sick in the wards. Every single medical workers is very critical towards the functioning of the hospital as well as our clinics in Honiara and should one is quarantined or isolated, the impact to the flow of shifts and overall man-power including the services will surely be affected.
We are also aware that a number of our workers have also been venting their frustrations on social media as well as our traditional media and we understand and also expect this to happen during such difficult and unprecedented times.
In the meantime, if you think you have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient, call 115/ 25256 and isolate yourself. We will prioritize those who have serious symptoms and the people with mild disease or those asymptomatic will wait. If you have symptoms, put a mask and isolate yourself in your home.
We remain committed to address this difficult situation we are facing and we continue to seek the support from each and every one of us to strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety measures at this time of lockdown and even after, when it is lifted. These include;
- Frequent hand washing with soap or hand sanitizer
- Maintain social distancing of at least 2 meters outside our homes
- Limit movements within their home
- Wear face -masks if travelling outside your home.
- All outside of Honiara please move to your nearest vaccination centres and get vaccinated immediately.
- Once lockdown is lifted, and vaccination roll out in Honiara resumes, all whom are yet to get vaccinated or complete their dose must do so immediately.
Let us work together as we have done to prevent a community transmission for the past two years and continue to pray for each other that we come out of this community transmission with very minimal impact as possibly as can be to our health and lives.