A leading public health expert says everyone within Rarotonga should expect to come into contact with Covid-19, as the Government decides to ditch naming locations of interest.
public health advisor Dr Douglas Lush said the weekend’s numbers, which included
22 reported cases on Saturday and 41 on Sunday, were to be expected, as the
outbreak was growing.
There are now 262
active cases in the Cook Islands, and 117 recovered cases, bringing the total
“I guess one of
the reasons for the Saturday numbers being lower would be due to fewer people
getting tested that day,” Lush said.
“We expect numbers
to fluctuate but the overall trend is an increase in cases.”
Lush said the
public health approach from the Government was to spread the peak out, and “to
date that appears to be working very well,” although he added that there was a
likelihood of nearly half the population of Rarotonga would be infected with
the virus and everyone should expect to come into contact with the virus.
Lush said the Cook
Islands Covid-19 website will no longer list locations of interest, as Covid-19
numbers increase and most transmission will be to close contacts.
“What we’ve moved to is focusing on close contacts unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as in a rest home, where it is likely that there would be a significant number of people with underlying health conditions, or pockets of unvaccinated people,” he said
There are five
testing stations open in Rarotonga, and one in Aitutaki. The Rarotonga clinics
are open every day from 9am to 3pm, while the Aitutaki is open on weekdays from
9am to 3pm.
The testing hub at
the Rarotonga Airport will be available during scheduled Air Rarotonga flight
times, for a fee of $10.
“We advise anyone
who has flu-like symptoms to get tested,” Lush said.
Aitutaki has now
experienced three Covid-19 cases, and Lush said that number would almost
certainly increase over the next week.
Lush said that now
the population is almost fully vaccinated, wearing of masks became the next
best defence against Covid-19.
“People have been
advised to have sufficient provisions at home for at least a week, similar to precautions
you would undertake during a major weather event, such as a cyclone,” Lush
Lush said while
Omicron was more contagious than other variants of Covid-19, not as many people
should require intensive care as a result of contracting it.
He said Te Marae
Ora (TMO) had established hotel facilities to deal with people who were in the
intimate stages of the illness