A short time ago Prime Minister Mark Brown made the following address via social media:
Kia orana tatou katoatoa,
Here is today’s update on our Covid-19 situation in the Cook Islands.
As of this morning, we still have just four active confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, all of whom are located in Rarotonga and all of whom remain in 10-day isolation.
Today is day eight of isolation for the original case, day six for cases two and three, and day four for our fourth case.
All cases are fully vaccinated and cases one, two and three are currently asymptomatic, with case one having not shown symptoms at any stage. Case four continues to display mild symptoms, which have improved from the time he first tested positive for the virus.
We also have a total of 60 close contacts currently under quarantine, all of whom are vaccinated, all of whom are asymptomatic and all of whom continue to test negative for Covid-19 so far.
For us this is extremely good news – none of the four positive cases have required hospital treatment of any kind and it is likely that their vaccination status has helped in this regard.
We know that vaccination is our very best protection against this virus and the current condition of our four cases would appear to support that.
With that in mind, I was pleased to see a further 232 people receive their vaccination doses on Saturday, with 26 receiving their first dose, 69 their second, 104 their booster and 33 of our young ones receiving the first paediatric dose.
This is great news, and I again encourage all those who haven’t taken advantage of our vaccination programme for themselves or their children to seriously consider doing so.
The TMO vaccination team is currently in Tongareva as of this morning for paediatric vaccinations, first doses for those aged 12 to 15 years, and booster doses for those aged 18 years and over. After Tongareva the team will then move on to the island of Manihiki before returning back to Rarotonga on Saturday, February 26.
We will also have second doses of the paediatric vaccine available on Rarotonga in the first week of March.
Our Covid-19 testing regime also continues today – you can get tested between 9am and 3pm by calling Tupapa Primary Care on 20065 or 20066, or the Public Health Office on 29110.
By now you should all be aware of the locations of interest connected to our four positive cases, and if you were at one of these locations at the relevant time or are displaying Covid-like symptoms and haven’t yet gotten yourself tested, then please do so today.
More information on our locations of interest, the most common Covid-like symptoms to watch out for and other related Covid-19 information can be found on our Cook Islands Covid-19 website at www.covid19.gov.ck, or by going to the TMO website or Facebook page.
As of yesterday, TMO had carried out a total of 1065 PCR tests for Covid-19 over the past week, and the turnaround times for results on these tests has been fantastic – while the current advice is that test results may take up to 48 hours to be processed, I don’t believe any have taken more than 24 hours at this stage and this is very good work from our TMO team.
In fact, everyone involved in our government response to Covid-19 has been doing an excellent job so far – officials, staff, volunteers, everyone – and on behalf of the nation I would like to offer you all my sincere thanks.
At the same time, I know there will be those of you who have family or close friends among those in isolation or quarantine and while it is understandable to be concerned or worried about them, please know that we are doing our best to look after them and to ensure they stay safe and well.
Having to undergo isolation or quarantine is obviously not an ideal situation for those involved, but these measures are necessary to protect our wider population and the more vulnerable among us.
And while those in isolation and quarantine are playing their part, it is important for the rest of us to remember that we all have a part to play in the fight against Covid-19 – so mask up, tag in, social distance where you can and keep up those good hygiene habits.
May God continue to bless us all.
Kia orana e kia manuia.