22 Mar 2020

Covid-19 patient says he couldn't reach helpline for 4 days

3:06 pm on 22 March 2020

The first person in Taupō to confirm positive for Covid-19 says he was unable to get through to the Ministry of Health helpline for four days.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Tūwharetoa Trust Board has confirmed its staff member Te Mahau Kingi tested positive after returning to Auckland from London via Dubai on 12 March.

He then flew to Taupō on 14 March, self-isolated and was tested on the 17th.

His results came back positive on 20 March.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)

He had previously posted on social media that he was unable to get through to the Ministry of Health's Covid-19 helpline despite trying for four days.

He took to Twitter to ask the Ministry to return his calls. However, he said he wasn't called back, so he contacted Taupō Health Centre instead.

"Big ups to #TaupoHealthCare for going out of their way, doing a #Coronavirus swab test," he posted.

The Tūwharetoa Trust Board's chief executive Shane Heremaia said it would support Kingi and wanted to assure the iwi and community he had been careful since returning to the area.

"It is a very difficult time for all, and we know our people will be concerned, and that's why the Trust, with the support of Mr Kingi, are making this public," Heremaia said.

Heremaia said Kingi had not been to any of the central North Island's iwi marae or in the Trust's office.

He hoped the people of Taupō would support him with aroha as he recuperated.

RNZ has contacted the Ministry of Health for comment.

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