Secretary of Health Bob Williams. RYAN ANDERSON/STUFF/21081919
Cook Islands residents and visitors concerned about catching Covid-19 or suffering a reinfection of the virus should wear face masks as well as applying ‘normal health measures’, says the Secretary of Health.
advice follows what he describes as “a slight increase” in Covid cases in the
Cook Islands over the past week.
are advising everyone that the option to protect (one’s) own self is encouraged
by wearing facial masks, including applying the normal public health measures.
We will review these requirements in due course as cases increase.”
Williams was responding to questions Cook
Islands News sent to him on December 22, asking whether the government planned
to take any measures to minimise a potential rise in Covid-19 infections and
reinfections as a result of infected expat Cook Islanders visiting their home
country for holidays.
The questions were prompted by a story in
the New Zealand Herald in which noted epidemiologist Michael Baker warned that
up to 85,000 people could be in isolation by Boxing Day. Health services warned
that it was putting a huge strain on a stretched workforce.
“In the light of this surge, and
considering that so many Cook Islanders are visiting over the Christmas-New
Year holidays, is the Cook Islands Ministry of Heath considering any new
measures to limit the spread of the virus?” Cook Islands News asked.
“If not, what advice do you have for
holidaymakers who are keen to avoid catching it? Michael Baker is suggesting
limiting gatherings to well-ventilated or outdoor spaces and people are being
urged to continue wearing masks as a precaution.”
Another question asked whether TMO had any
concerns about the vulnerability of the elderly in the Cook Islands, given the
fact that NZ health services had said the current wave was hitting older people
not addressing those questions directly, Williams said TMO had last week
received donated Paxlovid medications from the New Zealand Government.
have posted last week on its Facebook page the dispensation criteria to anyone
that may have Covid,” Williams added.
Yesterday NZ news website Stuff reported
that of the 32,010 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ over the past week, 9660 (almost
a third) were reinfections.
Of these, 367 were reinfections reported
within 90 days of a previous infection. Modellers said because of
under-reporting of cases, some “first infections” would actually be
reinfections – either because people didn’t report their first infection, or
were asymptomatic the first time.
Of the more than 2 million cases in NZ to
date, there have been 106,320 reported reinfections. The true number of
reinfections in NZ is thought by experts to be about 50 per cent of current
cases, across the population.
week one Rarotonga resident said she had suffered a Covid-19 reinfection
despite having had the full course of vaccinations.
resident, who declined to be named, said her symptoms had been just as bad as
the first time she had suffered the virus.
residents Cook Islands News spoke to also claimed to have suffered reinfections
– some of them involving a couple of days of relatively light illness, and
others more severe.