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‘We will be ready’: TMO

Tuesday 1 February 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Local, National

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‘We will be ready’: TMO
Head of Te Marae Ora, Ministry of Health Bob Williams. PHOTO: CALEB FOTHERINGHAM/22013124

Tupapa-based Kiikii Motel has been set aside as an isolation facility for tourists who get Covid-19 and locals with moderate virus symptoms in need of oxygen as Cook Islands prepares for Omicron invasion.

Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health secretary Bob Williams said it was hard to predict when Covid-19 was going to arrive but when it does “the country will be ready”.

“With the vaccination update the prediction is we will have a very little number of people in the hospital, the majority will be managed at home,” Williams said.

Rarotonga hospital has 20 beds in the Covid-19 ward, 10 of the beds are in a negative pressure room while another 10 are outside the room. There are also four ventilators on the island.

Williams said tourists will get an option to either isolate themselves at their current accommodation or at Kiikii Motel.

Visitors who get Covid-19 and wish to isolate at their current accommodation will be allowed to at the discretion of the accommodation owners.

“For local cases, if it’s mild they can be managed at home by the community health clinics until they meet the definition for a moderate case, meaning they will need oxygen. Then they will be moved to Kiikii motel,” Williams said.

He described Kiikii which has 23 beds, as a “duel facility for isolation”, housing both locals and tourists.

The isolation facility was set up at the request of hotel owners who felt unease by the idea of a positive Covid-19 case in their hotel, said Williams. The facility will be run by Te Marae Ora.

“If there is a need for another isolation facility, I have the power to take over a facility,” Williams said based on the Covid-19 Act that passed on March 2020. The Act gives Te Marae Ora the power to implement measures to protect, limit and mitigate the spread of Covid-19.