Health officials do not believe a change in alert levels is necessary after the detection of three new cases of Covid-19 in the Auckland community last night.
The health ministry said yesterday that a teenager seen as casual contact of the Papatoetoe High School community cases had tested positive. It was later announced that the student’s two siblings had also tested positive.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield said Morning report last night he officially investigated whether there should be a change in alert level.
“At this point, we don’t think there is any indication to increase alert levels.”
This is similar to the Northland case earlier this year, Dr Bloomfield said.
“We are placing the people who were in these places in a lockdown rather than in the city itself.”
The first results of genomic testing show that the new cases are all related and are all the UK variant.
“We’re not dealing with another sort of separate incursion, what that means is that we basically have three families involved here.
“Our second family, the index case in this case was a classmate of our first case, it’s interesting that we have here our first case which is also a girl, she is not a classmate, she is a year older and this suggests that this transmission has occurred. … Outside of the classroom, perhaps in a bathroom or hallway, ”said Dr Bloomfield.
“This one is a little more confusing.”
This is why students are retested – to exclude others who may have longer incubation periods and may be contagious, he said.
Any student in school on Wednesday February 10 will be retested as that is when the two students who tested positive were in school. Dr Bloomfield said this is the majority of the school population.
He said some students still had not been tested but were in isolation and were at home.
“The reason this girl didn’t go back to school is… because she couldn’t go back to school without a test.”
Dr Bloomfield said the timing of the tests was important.
One of the teens who tested positive worked two shifts at the Botany Kmart last week on Friday February 19 and Saturday February 20 between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Anyone in the store at these times is considered casual contact and is asked to immediately self-isolate at home and take a test.
Dr Bloomfield said the worker mainly folded clothes in one area of the store and had only had a few interactions with customers.
He said all more casual contacts, for the first time, are asked to self-isolate for 14 days and will be tested twice.
Rely on people to follow public health guidelines – PM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Morning report that she met officials last night who advised her to stick to the current settings.
“If there is always new information, we are always reviewing whether we need to change our alert settings.”
She said that in the latest cases, health officials knew exactly where the infections were coming from, meaning there was no concern about another route of transmission of the virus.
“This is a case – given that we had asked everyone to be tested – we expected to find additional cases.”
She said people in the group around Papatoetoe High School were asked to self-isolate and get tested.
“We rely on people who follow the advice and instructions we give.”
Sadly, she said one of the cases discovered yesterday went to work at Kmart Botany.
“We have the leave payment. So if someone is instructed to be home … during the test. We did it because we don’t want there to be a reason why people cannot follow through on public health directives … regardless of alert levels. “