April 15, 2020
Dr Rawiri Taonui | Covid-19 Update for Māori 15 April 2020
Dr Rawiri Taonui | Covid-19 Update for Māori | Recovered cases exceed active cases for the first time | Concerning increases in number of clusters and in aged are facilities more deaths likely
.Dr Rawiri Taonui
New Zealand has 20 new cases and 1386 in total. New cases continue a now 11-day decline (89-67-54-50-29-44-29-18-19-17-20).
There are now 16 significant clusters. These total 520 individual cases and 37.5% of all cases. 10 are associated with overseas travel. The origins of 6 are unknown. 5 are associated with aged care facilities. This is of grave concern especially for our Pākehā communities with Europeans comprising 93.4% (Census 2013) of all patients and residents.
The concentration of cases in the clusters suggest there is less Covid-19 out in the community. However, the rapid rate of infection within clusters advises caution in the upcoming government decision whether to stay at Alert Level 4 beyond next week or drop to Level 3 or lower. An extension to Level 4 is possible as is a conditional Level 3 with some closures to remain. Whatever decision is taken the risk of further outbreaks will continue for some time.
We are grateful to those doctors , nurses and other medical professional who risk their wellbeing to save the lives of others. There are 115 cases of medical staff with Covid-19. Only 5 are directly related to infection from patients. The origin of 5 other infections is unknown. The majority are associated with overseas travel, traveller contacts and other non-workplace clusters.
Recovered and Active Cases
For the first time recovered cases exceed active cases. 728 people have recovered from Covid-19. Active Cases (the total of all cases less recovered) have fallen from 930 seven days ago to 658 today. This is a key index that New Zealand is gaining control of the virus. We will want to stay on this cross-over trajectory from here on in.
Total testing is at 66,500 or 13,300tpm (tests per million of population). We need to lift this over 20,000tpm to reinforce confidence that we are truly gaining ground. Again, testing has been lower during the Easter break. Figures from testing over the next week to the end of the scheduled lockdown will confirm whether we have truly flattened the curve.
There is 1 new Māori case and 113 in total. We remain at 8.2% for the third day in a row. This is not a time to be complacent. Testing over the next period will have a focus on Māori communities. This is important Earlier testing under-tested our communities. Correcting that is central to uncovering any hidden reservoirs of Covid-19 in our communities
We need to encourage anyone in our communities with respiratory symptoms (cough, breathlessness, chest pain and wheezing) to get tested. With issues emerging around aged care facilities, 93.4% of the residents of which are Pākehā, the Māori and Pacific cultural custom of caring for the aged at home is offering a degree of protection.
With several foolish self-centred dilettantes and their families breaking the stay at home rules over the Easter break, we need to keep a watch on any new Covid-19 cases that might emerge in holiday destinations. If you live in those areas and have concerns, get tested.
After a complaint from a member of the Pākehā community two days ago, the Kerikeri Police closed a mana whenua check point into Kaikohe. The Kaikohe Police allowed the checkpoint to reopen yesterday. Key message, stay at home, stay in your bubble, stay within your community, don’t be a dick.
Pacific Peoples Cases
There is 1 new Pacific case and a total of 62. Pacific remain at 4.5% of all cases. Again, testing over the next period will have a focus on Pacific communities.
We need to encourage anyone in the Pacific community with respiratory symptoms (cough, breathlessness, chest pain and wheezing) to get tested. There is a call out to all Pacific trained doctors, nurses and other medical persons to come forward and assist the support effort for testing in Pacific communities.
This graphic presents the number of cases by ethnicity against the ethnic demographics from the 2018 Census, which counts multiple identities, and the Ministry of Health population model that counts a single identity. The two figures establish a Range of Risk. A percentage figure of positive cases approaching the low Range of Risk should be regarded as a concern, anything higher is more serious.
Testing for Māori and Pacific Peoples
Whāngarei MP Shane Reti and Māori Pandemic Response Group â€“ Te Whakakaupapa Urutā have raised concerns about the level of testing for Māori. I am publishing an article based on national testing figures by ethnicity from the Ministry of Health and from two DHBs. This will be out this evening or tomorrow.
I have another article that should be out by the end of the week on wearing masks. The policy of no-masks for the public is deeply flawed. Covid-19 is primarily spread by contact with droplets on surfaces, however, Covid-19 can also survive in light droplets in the air for up to 3 hours.
Covid-19 is also capable of being transferred by people who are asymptomatic (have no symptoms) and pre-symptomatic (no symptoms but about to get sick). A mask helps prevent these people from infecting others and allows time until testing can discover them.
There are views that adjusting masks risks contact with the face. The fact is that any mask forms a barrier between hands and face. The policy also says ill-fitting or homemade masks are not a good as medical grade. Advice from countries that require masks in public says that homemade masks provide better protection than no mask at all and that this is proportionately appropriate relative to medical-level mask use in higher risk medical situations.
Noho haumaru stay safe and self-sovereign, Dr Rawiri Taonui
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