There is a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, including additional deaths being reported in Western Province at the weekend.
OK-Tedi Mine- run hospital in Tabubil, Western Province, has reported four deaths at the weekend.
This is now Tabubil’s 3rd surge since the outbreak begun two years ago and this time the hospital has recorded 176 cases as well as 12 deaths.
While confirming these deaths, Deputy Controller for the National Pandemic Response Dr Daoni Esorom has appealed to everyone in the country to listen and follow the COVID protocols.
“There’s mass gatherings taking place for 46th Independence celebrations. We’ve observed that people are not adhering to COVID protocols like mask wearing, hand sanitizing and physical distancing,’’ he said.
“Currently, we have a delta surge in the country. Ontop of the non-compliance to COVID protocols, there’s a high hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccines. I strongly urge people to go back and re-visit the protocols and make sure they are adhering to them.
“We are expecting a very big surge in delta cases, starting this month and the mass gatherings with no adherence to COVID-19 protocols will facilitate this.’’
Dr Daoni said Delta variant is a new variant of COVID-19 which spreads faster and is deadlier.
Tabubil health facility has also reported that majority of the cases have not been vaccinated, including the deaths.
Like many parts of PNG, Western Province is facing huge issues such as lack of capacity to test and care for the sick.
“At the moment, our testing has been very low despite the fact that we’ve been seeing increases in respiratory illnesses in June, July, and August in many provinces notable ones, being Morobe, West New Britain, East New Britain and NCD,’’ said Dr Daoni.
Head of NCC Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Dr Gary Nou said at a meeting this morning that his team is looking at how they can help Western Province which will include deploying an international team.
However, he said EMTs can only work with the teams on the ground to beef up the ongoing operation which is almost non-existent in Western Province.
“We can bring in equipment, but there are no nurses. We need nurses to look after the patients. Most of the people are presenting late,’’ he said.
He also said it is hard to know the real situation in Western Province because testing is low and is mostly done at Tabubil health facility.
Emergency Physician at the Port Moresby General Hospital Dr Scotty Kendelyo, who is also the clinical cluster lead at NCC, also reported that PMGH is also experiencing a surge and its isolation ward is more than 50 per cent occupied, which has resulted in a decision being made to re-open the Taurama Acquatic Centre.
They are also looking at bringing in extra-manpower to cater for the increasing number of patients being admitted with COVID-19.
West Sepik Province is also experiencing a surge so a team from NCC is currently on the ground to give support.