A health boss has urged those isolating at home with Covid to immediately call for help should they become sicker or if they are worried about their condition.
Director of public health Caroline McElnay today said those with the virus should not delay seeking help and get straight on the phone to call the 111 emergency helpline or Healthline.
It comes as a grieving daughter this morning claimed her father - who died a painful death at home 12 days after contracting Covid-19 - had tried to get medical help but was told he had normal symptoms and would get better.
The West Auckland woman said her 68-year-old dad spent his last five days in agony, coughing up blood and too weak to move as he waited for officials to say he should go to hospital.
McElnay said health teams are "very aware of the grief and hurt being experienced by whānau who have recently lost loved ones to Covid-19".
"If you or your loved ones are being cared for in the community and you feel your – or their – condition is deteriorating, please don't leave it to chance that you'll improve," she said.
"Please reach out as soon as possible, or ask someone to do so on your behalf. This is the advice given to everyone who is being cared for in the community."
It comes as the Government's move to a suppression strategy for Covid rather than an elimination has resulted in hundreds of people with Covid now isolating at home.
McElnay today said more than 3000 people were isolating in 920 homes across the country.
That included 1382 people who had already contracted Covid, alongside their close contacts.
Last week two people who had been isolating at home with Covid died.
A man in his 40s died in a Manukau apartment and a man in his 50s died on Friday at a Mt Eden property after discharging himself from hospital.
The daughter of the 68-year-old man said Covid entered her family's household last month when her brother tested positive.
Despite telling health officials there were a number of vulnerable people in the home - including a woman in her 90s and a child under 10 years - the father was told to isolate at the house and wait for public health to make contact.
Despite following isolation rules, all the adults in the home soon contracted the virus.
The woman said her mother and grandmother became so ill she took them to hospital. Her grandmother still requires oxygen but is improving.
In the meantime, her father had been getting steadily worse, calling the Covid helpline and Healthline for advice.
"In the last five days he was really sick. He was really lethargic and in his bed the entire time. Because he was so tired and exhausted he couldn't confirm that he was coughing up blood."
She said her sister, who also contracted Covid while being the family's sole caregiver, also called Healthline many times, as well as their local doctor.
During these calls, advice included taking lozenges for her father's coughing fits, along with ibuprofen and paracetamol.
She claims one time when he asked if he should go to the hospital he was told that the symptoms he was experiencing were normal.
"They said if you want us we can call an ambulance but these are Covid symptoms and you'll get better. You're going through the second hump," she claimed.
"My dad was always someone who wanted to do things by the book and wanted someone to tell him you need to go to hospital," his daughter said.
Her dad eventually died, with his traumatised daughters watching him cough up blood and his son performing CPR before the ambulance arrived.
The Ministry of Health said any deaths which could be Covid-19 related were fully investigated, whether they occurred at home or in a hospital setting, including the care and support provided prior to their death.
A coronial process was now under way to determine whether these deaths might be related to the outbreak or to some other condition, it said.
McElnay today said health teams were looking to continually improve the way they supported those isolating Covid at home.
Health workers currently did early assessments when new cases are identified to make sure it was safe for them to isolate at home with Covid.
Them making a phone call to alert health officials that they needed additional medical help was then the next step they should take, she said.
However, health officials were reviewing whether there was a another way to support those who weren't likely to call for help when their condition got worse.
In the meantime, she reminded all Kiwis that hospital care and ambulance services are free for those with Covid-19.
"Our hospitals are ready to help and have robust infection, prevention and control measures in place to keep people safe," she said.
"People have died this week and that is tragic for their friends and family," she said.
"This is a very real reminder that the more people who get Covid-19, the more deaths we are likely to see.
"It is also a sad reminder that Covid-19 is potentially fatal, and this is particularly true if you're unvaccinated."
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