NCD, Western, West Sepik see virus surge

Main Stories
Dr Daoni Esorom

THE National Capital District (NCD), Western and West Sepik are the major provinces gravely affected by the current surge in the Covid-19 infections.
National Control Centre manager Dr Daoni Esorom said the many healthcare workers had been infected as well as incarcerated people and those who worked in closed settings like mine sites.
“Western, West Sepik and NCD are in stage 3 with large-scale community transmissions and almost all infections were locally acquired and not linked to specific groups or locations.
“This surge in infections needs to be contained to further prevent the spread,” he added.
“All the provinces are requested to immediately prepare a provincial operational surge plan, including an assessment on resources, facilities and capacities.
“Provincial health authorities are also requested to include information on all available resources and capacities within the province, including public, private, non-government organisations and faith-based facilities.
“Large-scale population-level testing remains low nationwide, with few health facilities conducting routine screening, swabbing symptomatic patients and reporting test results regularly.
“Seventeen out of 22 provinces, including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, have reported at least one Covid-19 positive case since last March.
“However, current testing rates and contact tracing data are inadequate to make more detailed sub-national transmission assessments within the provinces,” he added.
Dr Esorom said new epidemiological analysis had been undertaken to highlight the scale of the outbreaks that included more detailed investigations into recent testing rates by province, descriptions of the surges in five provinces, and epidemiological descriptions of NCD cases.
He said a Health Department and World Health Organisation team was deployed to Vanimo in West Sepik to conduct training of surveillance staff, assisting with the filling and collecting of case investigation forms and providing technical advice and support.
He said the team continued on to East Sepik this week to provide further support and ensure outbreak preparations were in place due to the high risk of imported cases from neighbouring provinces.