A short time ago Prime Minister Mark Brown made a live announcement via social media. What follows is his address:
Kia orana tatou katoatoa,
As of late last night, our health ministry Te Marae Ora has confirmed another two new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Cook Islands, bringing the total number of current positive cases in the country to six.
These cases – cases five and six – arrived in Rarotonga from New Zealand together onboard Air NZ flight NZ946 on Saturday, February 19, accompanied by a third travelling companion.
All three visitors, two of whom were symptomatic with runny noses and mild fever, went to the airport testing station yesterday afternoon on February 21 after one of them was informed that a friend they had had contact with three days earlier had just tested positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand.
Results from their RAT tests came back with two positive and one negative for the asymptomatic travelling companion.
All three were advised to return to their hotel and were later swabbed for PCR testing. Their PCR results came back yesterday evening, again with two positive results and one remaining negative.
Both cases five and six have been issued 10-day Isolation Orders, while their travelling companion who tested negative has been placed under a 10-day quarantine and will be tested again on days five and nine of their quarantine period.
Our contact tracing investigations have so far identified 13 close contacts of these two new positive cases.
These contacts are mainly from the visitors’ inbound flight and those who had contact with them upon their arrival on February 19.
All close contacts have been contacted and formally placed under quarantine orders and will be PCR tested today, as well as on days five and nine of their quarantine periods. They are all currently asymptomatic.
Apart from the inbound flight on which the two positive cases arrived, there are currently no new locations of interest at this time.
I would like to commend the diligence of these three visitors in getting themselves tested when they knew they were at risk, and thank them for playing their part in protecting the nation from Covid-19.
To date we have processed a total of 1115 PCR tests since Sunday, February 13, with 1109 returning a negative result and six positive.
All six positive cases are fully vaccinated and none have required hospital treatment. All six currently remain in isolation and we also have a total of 73 close contacts currently under quarantine.
PCR testing continues today at Tupapa Primary Care from 9am-4pm. If you have visited a location of interest (to be advised by TMO) at the relevant time or you are displaying COVID-like symptoms, please do get yourself tested if you have not done so already.
Both TMO and myself will continue to provide periodic public updates on our test numbers and results as the COVID-19 situation in the Cook Islands develops, as well as if any further new positive cases emerge.
Kia orana e kia manuia.