Coronavirus: Home isolating COVID-positive family 'disgusted' by Ministry of Health support, frightened after deaths

A COVID-positive family of six isolating at home says if any of them died, the Ministry of Health probably wouldn't know. 

They say they're "disgusted" by the lack of support from the Government, and have been given confusing and conflicting advice.

It's day 14 of home-iso for the Kersten family. 

"It's four kids, running round the house when both adults were unwell," says Ryan Kersten. 

Ryan tested positive two weeks ago. He, his wife and their four kids, all under the age of eight, have been isolating ever since.

Neighbours, colleagues and family have dropped off food and care packages. But they say the support they've received from the Ministry of Health has been "really disgusting".

"Really disappointing," says Miranda Kersten. 

Ryan and Miranda say they've only received check-in calls every other day, from different DHBs. 

"Nobody called me for three, four, five days," says Ryan. 

"The calls aren't sort of saying 'hey can we help you?', it's more, 'have you got a fever?', just the same sort of questions, like they're just ticking a box."

With the deaths of two COVID positive people isolating at home this week, this family is frightened. 

"Yeah that's scary, it could have been us," Ryan says.

"I said to Ryan last week, they'd have no idea right now if you were dead in a corner, they have no idea," says Miranda.

Newshub put this family's story to the Prime Minister on Saturday. 

"I would rather go away and find the details myself before responding to any accusations against the Ministry of Health… I don't want to make statements to speculate because I've heard also of significant contact from Healthline," Jacinda Ardern said. 

South Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins says the Ministry should consider using online apps to improve contact with isolated cases. 

"The Ministry of Health has got to get serious about how they stay in touch with people, most of these people will be online, on messenger, on Viber and those kinds of things," he told Newshub. 

Both parents have had one dose of the vaccine, with their kids too young to get it. 

Ryan still has no idea where he contracted COVID as they'd been extremely cautious. Nor do they know when their isolation may end.

"Every time we speak to someone from the Ministry of Health, the date changes, the reason changes, or they've lost one of our records," says Miranda. 

Ministry of Health guidelines say a household has to isolate for another 14 days after the last positive person in the house has recovered. 

With test results yet to come back for their two daughters, it'll be at least another two weeks of at-home activities.