After another student and two siblings tested positive for Covid-19, one of New Zealand’s largest high schools closed again.
After two students and two parents tested positive, Papatoetoe High School in southern Auckland was closed last week. It reopened this week, then closed on Wednesday again after a third student on Tuesday tested positive. Later on Tuesday, two siblings of the students have tested positive.
The health authorities have attempted to screen and contact all 1,500 children, but a limited number of pupils and their families have not been able to find and test them.
Another tested positive late on Tuesday, a day after students returned to campus, meaning the school has now been closed again and the whole student body and staff have to be re-tested.
Two siblings living with the infected student also tested positive, sending ripples of concern over how far the virus may have spread across the southern Auckland culture.
After a three-day lockout, Auckland is currently at level 1, and there has been no warning level adjustment yet, with Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield saying the outbreak can be handled with school contacts and their families self-isolating at home, instead of the whole community.
“I had a formal discussion with my chief science advisor and director of public health – we didn’t see any reason to go up alert levels,” Bloomfield told the AM show on Wednesday.
When they are unable to find a contact, health authorities will now begin door-knocking.
“Everyone in a Papatoetoe high school household must stay away from work or any other school, educational facility or community setting, for example the supermarket or any other place outside the home,” the ministry of health said.
Genome sequencing has shown that the cases this week are linked to the initial outbreak, which is the variety of the more transmissible UK.
A Kmart and a Vape store are places visited in the latest cases.
Dr. Bloomfield said the latest cases show new symptoms, including mucular aches and lethargy, not usually seen with the virus, and did not include any of the normal covid symptoms, such as cough and sore throat.
After a national vaccination campaign started on Saturday, starting with border employees, frontline health workers, and the elderly, the second batch of vaccine has now arrived in New Zealand and more than 1000 border workers have received the jab.
“We started our immunisation programme to around 12,000 border and managed isolation and quarantine workers last Saturday, and once completed, we’ll begin vaccinating their household contacts,” Chris Hipkins, the covid-19 response minister said.