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First Covid-related death recorded in Cook Islands

Saturday 23 April 2022 | Written by Sian Solomon | Published in Health, National

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First Covid-related death recorded in Cook Islands
(File photo) A number of people prepare to get vaccinated. ALANA MUSSELLE/21100821

The Cook Islands had recorded its first Covid-19 related death.

Ministry of Health and the Prime Ministers Office confirmed a 63-year old women with underlying health conditions died enroute to the hospital on the island of Aitutaki just before midnight last night.

In a statement released by Prime Minister Mark Brown on Saturday he said: “It is with great sadness that I announce that we have recorded our first in-country death attributed to Covid-19.

“The deceased was a 63-year-old woman on the island of Aitutaki. She had had all three anti-covid vaccinations, but also had several serious underlying health conditions.

"The deceased had been sick for three days at home and had declined to see a doctor or go to the hospital until the family made an emergency call to Aitutaki hospital just before midnight last night.

"The woman stopped breathing in the ambulance enroute to the hospital and was unable to be revived."

According to PM Brown, both the women and her daughter who accompanied her to the hospital had RAT tested positive for Covid-19 as a matter of procedure at Aitutaki hospital.

The deceased was swabbed for PCR testing, returning a positive result that confirmed a recent COVID-19 infection.

Due to her underlying health conditions, the PM said it was highly likely that this triggered her death.

“It is tragic, but not unexpected that we might lose someone to Covid," PM Brown said.

"I, together with Te Marae Ora, am sending our condolences to the family who have just lost a loved one, our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time and the people of Aitutaki.”

Since February, the Cook Islands has recorded a total of 4727 Covid-19 cases, of which 735 are currently active.

In the past 24 hours, 73 new cases have been reported for Rarotonga along with 43 new cases for Aitutaki.

Mauke currently has 3 active cases which are in isolation.

“Whilst most cases can be treated at home if matters deteriorate, people should not hesitate to seek medical attention, earlier intervention might have prevented this tragedy," said Secretary of Health Bob Williams.

“This is a very serious illness which has claimed many millions of lives around the world. COVID-19 can be a deadly disease – particularly for elderly people, and those with underlying pre-existing health issues.

“I want to reinforce our plea to people to take the precautions we’ve been talking about for the last two years.

"Sanitise, wear a mask and get tested or to qucikly alert the COVID-19 Response Teams on each island should you develop symptoms."