A short time ago, Prime Minister Mark Brown addressed the nation. Here is his address:
Kia orana tatou katoatoa,
Here is today’s COVID-19 update for Friday, March 4.
Our island-wide testing continues on Rarotonga today, and over the two days from March 1-2 we conducted a total of 2513 RAT tests across our various testing stations, government departments and several major businesses.
RAT testing figures from yesterday, March 3, are still being confirmed, but I can say that at least 1200 people were tested across all of our testing stations yesterday, so all up we have done close to 4000 tests over the past three days.
Today our Terevete Park testing station will be open until 3pm, with both the Kavera Meeting House and Ngatangiia Cook Islands Christian Church stations open until 7pm.
We have also decided to open our Terevete testing station only tomorrow on Saturday as well, from 8am to 1pm, with all stations closed for a break on Sunday.
To all those who have gotten themselves tested, meitaki ma’ata – thanks to you we detected another 11 cases yesterday, giving us a new total of 95 positive cases as of 10am this morning. Eight of these cases have so far been released from isolation, so we currently have 87 cases that are active right now.
Of the 35 new cases that we have identified over the past three days, most of them have been asymptomatic cases who went to a testing station or were tested at their workplace.
This is good news for us in two ways. It means that we are picking up potential carriers of the COVID-19 virus that may have otherwise gone undetected, and it also shows that the vaccine most of us have received is doing its job and not only reducing but in many cases eliminating the effects of the virus.
As I said yesterday, we continue to have zero hospitalisation cases, and none have even progressed to the moderate symptom stage.
We also have a total of 184 close and household contacts still in quarantine, and just a reminder that we are no longer actively tracing close contacts, with only household contacts required to quarantine now.
That said, there may still be some instances in which we will require non-household contacts to self-quarantine for a time and be monitored for symptoms. Any situation like this will be determined on a case-by-case basis and those involved will be directly notified by Te Marae Ora.
Also, as a result of our move away from actively tracing close contacts, our official Locations Of Interest list will no longer be added to as regularly, with TMO contacting workplaces and other locations directly on a case-by-case basis, depending on how confirmed positive cases have interacted with any other people there.
Bearing this in mind, it is still vitally important that we all continue to tag in with our CookSafe cards wherever we go, as this information will still need to be referred to by TMO depending on how different positive cases have interacted with other people at different locations.
One last thing before I go, and that is just a note of thanks to all of the 95 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Cook Islands and who have either completed or are currently undergoing their 10 days in isolation.
I know it is not the easiest of situations to find yourself in, but by sticking to this protocol and following the rules, you are helping keep the rest of us safe and for that you are to be commended.
Our Te Marae Ora and Internal Affairs teams will be doing their very best to look after you and make sure you have everything you need, but if you require further assistance in some way or even if you just want someone to talk to, please call the phone numbers that are provided in your information booklet.
Te rauka nei iaku i te akameitaki ia tatou katoatoa te aru nei te au akanoonoo’anga a te TMO i te paruru ia tatou e pera i te ta marie i te totoo anga o teia maki coviti ki vao.
Again, I would like to sincerely thank you all for playing your part in helping to protect the Cook Islands and our people from COVID-19.
That’s all we have for you today, but either myself or TMO will continue to provide periodic public updates on our COVID-19 test numbers and results as the situation in our country develops, as well as if any further new positive cases emerge.
May God continue to bless us all, and let’s continue to be positive and stay negative.
Kia orana tatou katoatoa, e kia manuia.
Hon Mark Brown