Ministry of Health data reveals Pasifika family with Covid-19 in Auckland

By Jessica Tyson

Ministry of Health statistics show members of the Auckland family with Covid-19 are Pacific Islanders.

Statistics on the ministry’s website show the number of Pasifika with Covid-19 in New Zealand increased by eight cases from 85 cases on Tuesday, August 11 to 93 cases on Wednesday, August 12.

The total number of Pacific Peoples with Covid-19 according to the ministry's website on Tuesday was 85:

After the new Auckland cases were reported the number of Pacific Peoples with Covid-19 increased to 93:

The eight cases could account for the four confirmed community transmitted cases made public by Dr Ashley Bloomfield during an urgent media conference on Tuesday evening which led to the Level 3 Auckland lockdown.

Then on Wednesday another four probable cases were announced, connected to the same family.

There was also another confirmed case from a person in managed isolation made public by Dr Bloomfield yesterday. 

Pacific Leadership Forum

Pacific Leadership Forum chair Teleiai Edwin Puni has confirmed he understands the four confirmed cases of the Auckland family are Pasifika.

He says it is important for people to be aware of the information to ensure Pacifika people stay safe.

“The real question is: How did they get it? Many Pacific people are essential workers. If these Covid-19 patients are Pasifika, they are likely to spread to other essential workers. We must use this information to encourage our people to be safe,” he says.

Pacific Health Plus and Pacific Leaders Group

Yesterday Pacific Health Plus and Pacific Leaders Group chairman John Fiso urged Pacifika communities to prepare in case of a Covid-19 outbreak.

“Medical and other resources must be quickly assessed and mobilised to ensure our communities, and providers within those communities, are ready to combat what could be a worst-case scenario for our Pacific families in high-density areas,” Fiso said.
 
“With news of transmission in South Auckland - where New Zealand’s largest Pacific population lives - further spread of the deadly Covid-19 in our most vulnerable communities could become a reality - and we must be ready."
 
He said the effects of an outbreak on the close-knit Pasifika communities with all of the challenges they already faced - job losses, low incomes, many family members in condensed housing, and New Zealand's worst health statistics - had the potential to be catastrophic for this group of New Zealanders.
 
“Unfortunately, when our Pacific communities have been confronted with contagious diseases or viruses in the past, such as measles and rheumatic fever, our country’s response and support has not been good enough. This cannot happen this time. We need all hands on deck - fanau, communities, providers, agencies and, importantly, our government."

Yesterday Health Minister Chris Hipkins declined to reveal the ethnicity of the family in South Auckland.

“We’re not releasing personal details to identify the family and at this point what I can say is that it's a family in Auckland,” he says.