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Prime Ministers Statement: Cook Islands Records First COVID-19 Death

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23 April 2022

“It is with great sadness that I announce that we have just recorded our first in-country death attributed to COVID-19,” Prime Minister Mark Brown announced a short time ago.

“The deceased was a 63-year-old woman on the island of Aitutaki. She had had all three anti-covid vaccinations, but also had several serious underlying health conditions.”

The deceased had been sick for three days at home and had declined to see a doctor or go to the hospital until the family made an emergency call to Aitutaki hospital just before midnight last night. The woman stopped breathing in the ambulance en-route to the hospital and was unable to be revived.

Both she and her daughter, who accompanied her to the hospital were RAT tested positive for covid as a matter of process at the hospital. The deceased was also swabbed for PCR testing, returning a positive result with low Ct values, confirming a recent infection of COVID-19.  Due to her underlying health comorbidities it is highly likely to have triggered her death. 

The Prime Minister says “It is tragic, but not unexpected that we might lose someone to covid. I, together with Te Marae Ora, am sending our condolences to the family who have just lost a loved one, our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time and the people of Aitutaki.”

Secretary of Health Bob Williams added “whilst most cases can be treated at home if matters deteriorate, people should not hesitate to seek medical attention, earlier intervention might have prevented this tragedy.

“This is a very serious illness which has claimed many millions of lives around the world. COVID-19 can be a deadly disease – particularly for elderly people, and those with underlying pre-existing health issues.

“I want to reinforce our approach plea to people to take the precautions we’ve been talking about for the last two years. Sanitise, wear a mask and get tested or to quickly alert the COVID-19 Response Teams on each island should you develop symptoms.”

The latest covid figures for the Cook Islands are as follows:

Rarotonga, had 73 new cases reported in the 24 hours to 8am this morning. This brings the total number of cases on Rarotonga to 4342, 3832 of these cases have recovered and there are currently 505 active cases on Rarotonga.

Aitutaki recorded 43 new cases in the 24 hours to 8am this morning, bringing their total to 382 cases or which 155 have recovered and 227 are currently active.

Mauke currently has 3 active cases, all who have been in isolation since their arrival on island.

In summary, the Cook Islands has so far had a total of 4727 cases, 3990 have recovered and we have 735 active cases as of this morning.