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19 July 2022

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First Covid-19 case activates Titikaveka Puna

Tuesday 15 February 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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First Covid-19 case activates  Titikaveka Puna
The Titikaveka Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Coordinator, Ali Macquarie. PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES/22021409

The Titikaveka Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) or Puna was activated on Sunday, shortly after the first positive Covid-19 community case was announced.

Coordinator of the centre, Ali Macquarie said red flags were posted around the private accommodation property where the woman, who is asymptomatic and was visiting, is staying with two travelling friends (who both tested negative).

The women are in isolated quarantine for 10 days, and had felt a bit apprehensive with the red flags posted outside their holiday residence in case of negative reaction from the community.

Colour coded flags have been used by the Puna around Rarotonga when the country first experienced a lockdown in 2020.

A white flag standing outside a home means in need of medical attention, an orange flag indicates vulnerable persons and no visitors permitted, and a red flag signals a positive Covid-19 case – isolated quarantine and no visitors.

Macquarie assured the woman of their cooperation and the purpose of the coloured coded flag as an indication to the neighbours and the rest of the community to keep away.

“I’d like to remind the community to please show some respect for these people and don’t go and nosy around.

“Now we also have to be mindful of what we do, sanitise, wear your masks etc.”

In anticipation of a positive Covid case with the opening of the international borders last month, preparations for the Titikaveka Puna activation were already in full swing which included a meeting with the Titikaveka community just last week.

Macquarie is pleased with the swift notification from Te Marae Ora on Sunday concerning the positive case compared to the “unacceptable” 18 hour wait for an official announcement on Saturday in regards to a positive test result from a tourist in Auckland who had holidayed on Rarotonga.

“It’s good we were advised a lot earlier; we could activate our procedures to help keep our community and our people safe.”

Since yesterday from 8am, the Titikaveka Puna is now open 24/7. The other four puna health clinics on the island are prepared to be activated once a positive case has been identified in their district.