Self-isolation policies hit home as food parcel demand soars

Tony Kake the chief executive of Papakura Marae says demand for essential food parcels and care packages for whānau self-isolating with Covid-19 is soaring, and the organisation is struggling to keep up.

Dozens of whānau requested support from the Marae on Sunday alone, but issues with sourcing supplies mean some families are waiting for days.

"For instance we had 75 requests yesterday, and New World could only do 25. We're running by the skin of our teeth to be honest." Kake told RNZ.

Cases of Covid-19 Omicron are regularly topping 15,000 a day, with some epidemiologists predicting that could top 100,000; Kake says self-isolation requirements are something that is even affecting the Marae’s ability to deliver its services to others.

"Our kaimahi? Yeah we're dropping like flies. We're planning to be down about 30 percent of staff and we've got backups.”

"I've diverted staff, we've just got to move people around to where the priority is. I've got to explain that to our funders, I'm waiting for the first one to object and then I'll serve with the Covid response, 'well you come and do it’.” Kake said.

Kake says his Marae’s testing centre diagnosed a record 62 cases in a day recently, he says whilst the numbers are high, the introduction of rapid antigen testing is at least speeding the process up, and hopefully slowing the spread.

"There's a lot of panic, a lot of anxiety. People just kind of need to be cool. Stay calm, kia tau." He said.