National | Northland

Six-week old Covid positive ‘Maile’ on the mend

Baby Maile was the first Covid-19 hospitalisation in Northland.

Her whānau says she is in good spirits now, and is grateful she came through the "scary" process of having Covid unharmed.

Covid has hit their whānau and is present in three generations, with Mum Atawhai contracting the virus, along with Maile's grandparents, who are self-isolating in the small Kaipara settlement of Pouto.

Atawhai has a clear message for whānau who are doubtful - waste no time and get vaccinated.

"I was one of that whānau sceptical about covid until now it's happened to me and my family," she says.

The Ministry of Health announced Baby Maile was in hospital on November 8. Atawhai retells the fear their whānau experienced when Maile was diagnosed.

"She had this husky bark of a cough every time she breathed in and she was coughing back out. It was scary. I could not believe a child  could get it at such an early age."

With yet another sunny day in Dargaville and seven active cases in the community, people steadily arrived at Dargaville Hospital to be tested.

Only solution - vaccination

"There is a degree of panic among people about what  they should be doing."

Te Hā Oranga Nurse lead Naomi Walker says her organisation is up against it, covering ground as far as Kaihu and the Waipoua Forest in the north and 100 kms south to Pouto.

"Last week a couple of cases popped up in Pouto related to the Tākiwira cluster.

"So we were able to send a team out and provide testing and vaccinations for that community. It's very isolated so it's really good to be responsive to the community."

With an imminent relaxing of restrictions for Aucklanders, she expresses her concern with holidaymakers.

"The main impact is we know that people who live in Auckland love to come north, so it's scary for us and scary for the community. So what can you do to protect your whānau? Vaccination is the only solution we've got now."

Some 67% of Northland's eligible population are double vaxxed and more than 37,000 are yet to receive their first dose.