(File photo) Nurse Parau Nio administers an injection. TE MARAE ORA/20051108
Health authorities are preparing for a likely spike in influenza cases not long after Covid-19 numbers peak.
Figures provided by Te Marae Ora (TMO) show the Cook Islands recorded over 270 cases of Covid-19 over the weekend, pushing the total number of cases to over 2526 since the pandemic began, with 777 of those cases still active.
advisor Dr Douglas Lush said Rarotonga was likely hitting its peak numbers for
Covid-19 over the next two weeks.
There had also
been another couple of cases in Aitutaki over the weekend, bringing the total
number of cases on the island to 14, with 12 of those recovered.
Lush said as the
Covid-19 numbers began to peak, the influenza season could also make its way
through the island.
of the next few should provide an indication of whether daily case numbers are
declining. It should be going down rather than going up by now.
closed, we’ve had two years without it,” Lush said.
“But with borders
reopening to Australian visitors in particular, we can expect the return of the
influenza season. TMO will be looking at providing vaccines as soon as
Lush said TMO
would be preparing for the coming influenza season by launching another
“We know how
important it is to look after our people,” he said.
Lush said it was
yet to be decided as to how many influenza vaccines needed to be rolled out.
Lush said TMO had
contingencies in the event hospitalisations due to Covid-19 needed to occur.
setting aside some hotel accommodation for moderate cases, and hospital beds
for more severe cases.
“To date, there’s
evidence of good protection from the vaccine, but it’s still up in the air as
to whether we would get hospitalisations later on. We don’t know how many hospitalisations
Lush said some of the
more vulnerable in the community might have been protecting themselves by
self-isolating and wearing masks.
He has previously
estimated that about 7000 people in Rarotonga—nearly half the island’s
population—would be infected with Covid-19 during the outbreak.
However, he said
the current numbers suggest that a peak might already have been reached.
probably a lot of cases of people who have had the infection but have not got
tested for it, because they don’t think they are displaying symptoms. As a
result, we can’t detect everyone who has been infected.”
Lush said Rapid
Antigen Tests (RAT) have been given to contacts of cases, so they can do the
tests at home, and people now only needed to isolate for seven days.
If they have been
tested negative after seven days, they won’t need to isolate again if further
people in the household become cases.
takes advantage of the availability of RAT tests that can be performed home,
and will allow more people to return to the workforce, rather than spending
long periods in quarantine.”