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Aitutaki expected to cross 1000 Covid-19 cases: Lush

Friday 8 April 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in National, Outer Islands

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Aitutaki expected to cross 1000 Covid-19 cases: Lush
An aerial view of Aitutaki. COOK ISLANDS TOURISM

A public health advisor is predicting Aitutaki will reach more than 1000 Covid-19 cases as the pandemic makes its way through the island.

Doctor Douglas Lush’s comments come as Rarotonga’s Covid-19 case numbers have climbed over 3000, after it recorded 156 new cases on Wednesday. There are now 3003 cases of Covid-19 in Rarotonga, of which 858 are active.

On the same day, there were four new cases of Covid-19 recorded in Aitutaki, bringing the total number to 32, of which 20 are still active.

Lush said it was now apparent that Covid-19 had made its way into the Aitutaki community in a serious way.

“We’re expecting those numbers to climb over the coming days and weeks, and I would not be surprised if they reach over 1000 in Aitutaki,” Lush said.

He said in previous Covid-19 outbreaks, contact tracing had proved very effective in isolating cases.

“However, those measures don’t work as well with Omicron, where the best you can do is slow down the pandemic, rather than stop it,” Lush said.

Lush said he was not sure about when Aitutaki would reach the 1000 mark, but expected things to further ramp up over the coming weeks.

“My advice for the people of Aitutaki is to learn the lessons from Rarotonga. That is, get tested if you have symptoms, and isolate if you are infected by Covid-19. Most vaccinated people would have only a mild case of the illness,” he said.

Araura College in Aitutaki principal Gaylyn Lockington said it had only had one student affected by Covid-19 so far.

However, she expected this to change.

“We really have to take each day as it comes, and be prepared for anything,” Lockington said.

Lockington said if the outbreak started to affect both students and teachers, they would consider a number of measures, including rotating classes in order to cut back on face-to-face contact.

“We don’t have the pool of the relievers that you have in Rarotonga, and we have talked about the possibility of changing things if Covid affects staff,” she said.