Saturday, December 4

Covid-19 Wrap: Criticisms of Cancer Testing, Poverty, and Treatment

The number of new Covid-19 cases may have declined for the second day in a row, but the government has been denounced for Covid’s inaction of poverty, for failing to use rapid antigen tests for travelers, and for failing to disclose data from discontinuation of cancer treatment.

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Photo: RNZ, 123RF

The Salvation Army has called on the government to take urgent action to help the working poor and beneficiaries, who it says are finding it increasingly difficult to put food on the table during the pandemic.

Salvation Army Parliamentary and Social Unit Director Ian Hutson said staples should be affordable in a country that produces so much. But high housing costs and electricity bills were also putting pressure on households.

The church said the government should advance a planned increase in some benefits, scheduled for April next year. He also asked them to reintroduce some work supports and disposable income during last year’s closings.

Ministry reports 80 new community cases

80 more people were reported to have contracted Covid-19 in the community today; 77 in Auckland, two in Waikato (one from Te Awamutu and one from Hamilton) and one in Northland (linked to yesterday’s cases).

As of today, the community’s case count for the past three days has tripled.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that 46 of today’s cases are unrelated and in the last 14 days there have been 287 unrelated cases.

There are 50 people in the hospital with Covid-19, including four in intensive care. The average age of those hospitalized is 44 years.

MP says rapid antigen test could have prevented a positive case in Blenheim

Marlborough MP Stuart Smith says lax controls allowed yesterday’s Blenheim case to enter the region.

The Ministry said the traveler was not vaccinated. They traveled to Blenheim from Rotorua via Wellington on Thursday and were examined after arrival when they reported a sore throat.

But Smith said rapid antigen tests before traveling by plane or ferry could have warned of the case before leaving.

The local DHB said that both Covid-19 testing and the first few doses of walk-in vaccination had increased after the case was announced. And they asked everyone in the region to review the information from the Ministry. Locations of interestand get tested if they have been to one of the sites.

The traveler flew to Blenheim via Wellington Airport, and anyone who was in that domestic lounge during a window on Thursday morning should also be tested.

Authorities have said that the traveler’s test result was weak and therefore they may have arrived late in the infectious period and may have less risk of transmission. But anyone who has cold or flu symptoms in the area is asked to get tested.

Schools vaccination mandate could kick staff out: principals

A principal has told RNZ that irreplaceable school personnel could be expelled from Northland schools because of the government’s requirement that all personnel must be vaccinated.

Teachers must have received their first dose by November 15th. But about 25 percent of Te Tai Tokerau’s population has yet to have it.

The president of the region’s association of principals, Pat Newman, is fully vaccinated, but said six Northland schools have reported having staff who are hesitant about vaccinations, including his own elementary school in Whangārei. However, he said there would probably be more.

He said it was quite difficult to get qualified and culturally competent staff in Northland, and he did not know how the schools would cope if the staff left en masse.

Auckland schools will partially reopen this week, with 11, 12 and 13 year olds returning on Tuesday.

Hidden Figures of Delayed Cancer Treatments – Reti

National Party deputy leader Dr. Shane Reti said the government was leaving cancer patients behind.

He criticized Health Minister Andrew Little for not releasing data on how many have had procedures interrupted. But the data he had for four hospitals showed that treatments for 85 patients had been delayed or canceled since the lockdown began, and he believed the national number would be in the hundreds.

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