One new case in MIQ, none in community – Ministry of Health

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No new community cases and one new case in managed isolation have been reported by the Ministry of Health today.

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Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The ministry said the first three cases in the February cluster – cases A, B and C, were now considered recovered, and wastewater testing from a site near Papatoetoe High School continued to report negative results.

One new community case was confirmed yesterday after Auckland went back to alert level 3 and the rest of the country to alert level 2 following the discovery of two new community cases on Saturday.

Alert level settings are not expected to change for at least a week.

The Ministry of Health said yesterday’s new case was linked to the Auckland February cluster, and that individual was already in the Auckland quarantine facility.

The person is being referred to as Case O and is a household contact of Cases I, J, K and L – five members of a South Auckland household who were moved into quarantine on 23 February after Case I tested positive.

The ministry today said cases M and N, who were reported on Saturday and triggered the latest lockdown, were both linked genomically to the outbreak and 21 close contacts had been identified. The cases’ other family members had also been taken to the Auckland quarantine facilities.

Contact tracingAll 33 Kmart Botany staff members who are considered close-plus contacts have tested negative, while seven of the 11 close-plus contacts who worked at KFC Botany Downs at the same time as Case L had returned negative results, the ministry said.

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The 1847 people who contacted the ministry as having been at Kmart Botany at the times of interest had been asked to isolate for 14 days and return two tests – at day five and day 12 – after their potential exposure. The ministry said it had 1794 negative tests from the group so far.

Seven close and close-plus contacts were identified as having been at Dark Vapes East Tamaki, and all had returned a negative day-five test, the ministry said.

At Papatoetoe High School, 1514 of the 1519 students and staff had returned at least one negative test result since 15 February, plus the three positive cases (E, I and J), and more than 97 percent of results had been returned for all casual-plus contacts’ follow-up tests, the ministry said.

The majority of people who were at Manakau Institute of Technology’s Manukau campus at times identified on the ministry’s locations of interest page were also considered casual contacts and would need to watch for symptoms but would not need a test unless they had symptoms or were a close or casual-plus contact, the ministry said.

Frustration over rule-breaking

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today acknowledged the public’s anger over the latest community cases after it emerged there was contact between two families that was not disclosed to contact tracers prior to the earlier family going into quarantine.

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Breaches of self-isolation rules have characterised the Auckland cluster, prompting calls for stricter meaures to enforce self-isolation and protect the community.

Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are expected to hold a post-Cabinet meeting briefing at 3pm today.

The ministry said detailed advice about the actions required for different categories of contacts was available on its website.

Anyone with symptoms should contact the ministry’s healthline and seek a Covid-19 test.

This is an official government Covid-19 announcement:

On 28 February, the Auckland region moved to Covid-19 Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. This is for a period of seven days. Further community cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the Auckland Region. If you are in Auckland, stay home where possible, and follow Alert Level 3 guidelines. This will stop the transmission of Covid-19 and save lives. For more information on the alert levels go to covid19.govt.nz.

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Kia Kaha – Stay Strong

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