Despite Auckland’s move down to Alert Level 2, many Pasifika providers will treat the coming week as if it’s still in alert level 3 by keeping on the same safety measures for clinics, staff and clients.
Pasifika make up about two-thirds of the Auckland Covid-19 cluster, and those working with the community will continue to provide support. The community is urged to continue to ask for help if they need it.
Ana Aitcheson, The Fono social services manager, is part of the team looking after 240 families in isolation and quarantine - those who have Covid-19 and their close contacts.
They’re providing food and supplies to anyone, no matter their immigration status. They’re also providing support for education, health and financial needs.
“For anyone that might need to be at home isolating or in a facility, just know that we’ve got you - anything that you might need,” she told 1 NEWS.
“The families are wonderful. They’re really, really kind and really helpful.”
Amid community concerns of being stigmatised for having Covid-19, health authorities have rallied Pasifika frontline staff, church leaders and providers.
Fepulea'i Margie Apa, CEO of Counties Manukau District Health Board and Northern Region Health Coordination Centre lead, says Pasifika needed to hear authorities’ messages from their leaders, too.
Pop-up testing stations and mobile units going door-to-door are also having an impact, with a quarter of people being tested identifying as Pasifika - the highest testing rate of any ethnic group.
It’s made a difference at Middlemore Hospital as patients there turn up already knowing if they’ve tested positive, unlike in other hospitals.
“They come through the emergency department using our negative pressure rooms in PPE. We already know they are positive, which is quite helpful,” says Dr Vanessa Thornton, the head of the hospital's emergency department.