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Record daily total of Covid-19 cases

Wednesday 16 March 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, National

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Record daily total of Covid-19 cases
People get tested for Covid-19 at the drive through testing in August, 2021. PHOTO: CI NEWS/21081715

Cook Islands has experienced its single-highest day of Covid-19 cases, as the pandemic makes its way through the island nation.

Latest figures from Te Marae Ora (TMO) show there have been 476 Covid-19 cases to date with 86 recorded on Monday.

Cook Islands public health expert Dr Douglas Lush said the high numbers were “exactly what we were expecting”.

“It’s now widespread across Rarotonga,” Lush said.

“We’re also expecting more cases in Aitutaki, but quite when that will happen, we’re not entirely sure.”

Lush said as the pandemic made its way through the country, the basic public health advice remained.

That included wearing a mask, sanitising hands and practicing social distancing.

“I can’t emphasise enough the need to do the basics.”

Lush has previously said modelling predicted more than 7000 cases would be likely in Rarotonga- about half the population of the island—and that everyone within Rarotonga was expected to come into contact with Covid-19.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said the latest advice he had been given from health ministry TMO “suggests that our daily case totals will continue to rise, and it is likely that we will soon be seeing upwards of 100 new cases a day, if not more”.

“Out of the almost 500 cases we have recorded so far, we still have yet to see any of our people hospitalised with this virus, and that to me is the most encouraging statistic of all,” Brown said.

“To be where we are now, with almost 500 cases but zero hospitalisations is a great achievement, but we also need to remain vigilant and keep ourselves prepared for whatever lies ahead.”

Brown said as the number of people testing positive and entering isolation continues to rise, so too does the number of household contacts – the close family members and housemates of positive cases, who are also required to undergo seven days of quarantine.

“So, in addition to our 344 active cases in isolation, as of 11am this morning (on Tuesday) we also have 508 household contacts in quarantine – that’s 852 people altogether,” Brown said.

Brown said the Government was “looking into ways in which we might be able to alleviate these pressures, especially with respect to those who are considered essential and frontline workers”.

“In the meantime, let us all continue to observe all of those precautions and health and safety measures that we know make a difference in slowing the spread of the Covid-19 virus,” Brown said.

“So, wear your mask, maintain physical distancing, tag in with your CookSafe card and keep up those good hygiene habits.”

Brown said TMO’s vaccination team will be in action again on March 26.

“They will be offering either first or second doses to those aged five years old and over, as well as booster doses to those aged 18 plus – just get yourself and your children to the Nikao Social Centre between 8am and 4pm and our capable TMO staff will take it from there,” Brown said.