A leading epidemiologist announces news of three new cases and in the next days, the government’s response will be critical.
Tuesday’s three new group cases are all domestic contacts.
One case is a student from the Papatoetoe high school who has found the first high school case to be a “casual plus” She was not in school. She was not at school.
The two others are siblings, a baby and a teenager who recently graduated from school and worked at Kmart Botany.
31 workers from the Kmart shop is listed by the Ministry of Health as closely linked and insulated.
Professor Michael Baker, an Otago University epidemiologist, always claimed that it was troubling if the group had cases – and that the next few days were crucial when determining what to do next.
“The information you really want to know is amongst those contacts whether any of them test positive. If those in their immediate work environment don’t test positive that’s generally quite good news. It doesn’t mean you’re in the clear but that would be a good sign,” ‘The information that you want to know is if any of them is positive.’
Michael Plank, Professor of the University of Canterbury, said it was not shocking that other cases originated from a household already contaminated.
“The good news is that these students haven’t been back to school since the start of the outbreak so if you’ve got kids at Papatoetoe High School you don’t need to worry.”
The situation illustrates the significance of the contract tracing method and Covid Tracer application.
“If you’ve scanned into Kmart [Botany] you’ve got that reassurance that you’ll get the message [notifcation] if you were there at a time when this case was also in the store.”
He said the epidemiological connection between the case previously identified on Tuesday and the case previously identified would be helpful.
“We know they go to the same school but they weren’t close contacts, they’re not in the same classroom. It would be useful if we could try and identify exactly when that contact occurred that the infection was passed on”
The Auckland Hospital Infectious Disease Physician Mark Thomas said “relatively small” the likelihood of more positive interactions at the pharmacy.
“It has to be followed up so if there has been any unlikely transmission to other casual plus contacts they get identified and managed.”
In the meantime, Associate Professor of Auckland University, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, calls for the transfer of Auckland, following recent events, to level 2 alert.
She told Stuff that it would restrict the number of meetings to “stop super-spreaders”
“The question will be whether they can contain the cases through track and tracing,” she said.
“The best move is to go to level 2 to stop super spreaders.”