The cases, mostly health workers and inpatients, are from the Port Moresby General Hospital with only one case in Lae.
Commissioner of Police and Controller of the National Pandemic Response, David Manning, said yesterday that these new cases now bring the total to 72 known active cases. These include 31 patients under care, with three critical cases, all in the Port Moresby General Hospital, including one on a ventilator.
“There are currently 2 moderate and 26 mild patients under care at Rita Flynn Isolation Centre after ten were discharged today (Sunday).
“Seventeen days ago, we announced the 13th case after no case was detected for a month. This is an increase of 98 cases in just 17 days and this is very concerning.
“Yesterday our laboratory in Goroka completed 182 tests and confirmed 15 cases on polymerase chain reaction tests while the other 4 were tested on GeneXpert at the Port Moresby General Hospital. This brings the total number of tests completed to date to 10,471.
“While the capital remains the focal point of PNG’s surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent days, another new case was reported today from Lae,” Manning said.
Controller Manning said while the positive case in Lae was now stable and in isolation, contact tracing efforts is continuing in the Morobe capital.
“The daily increase is alarming and very serious for our country,” said Manning.
As of Saturday, the health team with support from the NCD Provincial Health Authority set up tents at Morata, Six-Mile, Nine-Mile, Gordon’s, Pari, Badili and Wanigela health clinics to set up screening areas for patients.
“This will greatly increase testing, identification and containment of the virus in the communities.
“We have identified clusters of cases in Morata, Koki, Wanigela, Port Moresby General Hospital, the National Department of Health, the National Control Centre, Ensisi, Three-Mile, Two-Mile, East Boroko, UPNG, Gerehu, Hohola and Vadavada. These areas have been identified as contacts of confirmed cases and tested.
“A team of 25 PNG Defence Force staff are supporting the health team to do swabbing at the clinics,” Manning said.
St John Ambulance with support from the New Zealand government and the National Department of Health have set up a drive through sampling centre at the Taurama Aquatic Centre where people can get tested if presented with sore throat, cough, fever or runny nose.
Due to the significant number of new cases, the Health Advisory Committee made up of Papua New Guinean doctors have discussed and agreed upon a number of recommendations and measures.
“The measures are important at this time as it will allow the government and the frontline workers to respond to the current surge in NCD and to mitigate spreads to the rest of the country,” Manning said.
To date, PNG has recorded 110 cases, most from the NCD, with 3 cases from Morobe, 3 from Western Province, 2 from East New Britain and 1 from Eastern Highlands.