7 July 2020
The PNG situation report for the period, 26 June to 2 July, has highlighted measures to prevent, detect and control the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the country, and especially in Port Moresby.
Following the confirmation of Case#9, mass testing among the military personnel at Murray Barracks and close contacts were conducted.
At the same time, the National Capital District Public Health Authority and the Central Public Health Authority (CPHA) have also conducted case investigations, contact tracing, contact monitoring and quarantine of contacts, in relations to the three most recent cases in NCD, with support from the World Health Organisation.
A decontamination exercise, which was carried out on public buildings visited by the new cases during their infectious period, including health facilities and clinics has now been completed.
As well as that, the National Control Centre (NCC) has imposed several measures in response to the new cases confirmed in NCD. These are:
- All confirmed COVID-19 patients are to be isolated at a designated isolation facility regardless of severity unless the capacity of facilities is overwhelmed which may necessitate introducing home isolation;
- Rita Flynn Facility shall be fully activated to absorb up to 70 patients for NCD and Central Province; and
- All provincial hospitals should have isolation wards fully prepared to accept patients.
The report further outlined that the National Department of Health and the NCC have issued testing guidance to detect COVID-19 cases. These include:
- All suspected COVID-19 case must have sample collected and tested .These include, any inpatient or outpatient pneumonia or SARI case.
- In addition, health facilities to be selected by provincial health authorities and representative of the province, are requested to collect at least 10 samples a day, from suspected COVID-19 cases and from people presenting influenza-like illnesses or simple cough.
The NCD PHA has put in place a Surge Expansion Plan for COVID-19 where the Bisini grounds, adjacent to the Rita Flynn Facility, will be utilized to set up a 200 bed spillover isolation ward for mild to moderate patients.
According to the report, the NCD Provincial Health Authority is planning to set up five wards of 40 patients each, while the Rita Flynn Facility is likely to be designated for severe patients.
The NCD PHA Team has also inspected all 16 public clinics for re-establishing pre-triage screening.
Meanwhile, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Port Moresby General Hospital and the NCD Provincial Heath Authority, for surge capacity and other areas of cooperation, as part of response preparations in the event of wider community transmission of COVID-19 in Port Moresby.
In terms of training, a technical team from the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation have rolled out comprehensive training on clinical management, infection prevention and control (IPC), surveillance, rapid response and risk communication.
Most provincial training were conducted together with awareness and sensitization activities for health workers, teachers, disciplinary forces, NGOs, business houses, among others.