Māngere church cluster family ‘in tears’ and ‘blindsided’ after positive tests

NZ Herald

A family at the centre of the country’s biggest COVID-19 cluster say they were in tears and felt blindsided after all seven of them tested positive for the virus.

The family is among five others linked to the church cluster in Auckland that has just left quarantine (MIQ).

Reflecting on her family’s ordeal with Delta, Patricia Tosoga said the family was “so blindsided by it because only one of us from our household went to the service and then came home, and our whole family got it.”

A month later, all seven family members are out of MIQ.

Tosoga says the hardest part was learning her infant boys also had the virus.

“I can honestly say that I was in tears as well as my whole family because just hearing that the little ones and the oldies were most vulnerable to it,” she said.

When the family contracted the virus, they were living in an overcrowded house in Avondale.

Sine being released from MIQ, they’ve been reunited and helped into a temporary home in Otahuhu.

“They’ve basically moved us in here as, like, transitional housing just to wait until they can find us a bigger home,” Tosoga said.

Although all the adults in Tosoga’s family worked, the money dried up when the positive results came in. This was the case for many in the Māngere church cluster,

“So they’ve all come out with a lot of uncertainty on jobs, on rent arrears, issues around mental health,” said Assembly of God church advocate Jerome Mika.

Cooperation is the only way to solve the problem, he says.

The response to Māori and Pasifika during the pandemic has long been considered too fragmented.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Su’a William Sio (pictured), says he’s listened and accepts the old way of responding doesn’t work for the most vulnerable.

“The siloed working of government doesn’t address the complexities of issues that these families face,” he said.

South Seas Healthcare and the Penina Trust, a Pacific-focused housing and mental health provider, have joined forces to help families recover from their COVID-19 crises.

“We understand our communities and their needs and it can’t just be [the] same old, same old,” said Penina Trust chief executive Roine Lealaiauloto.


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