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Conflicting claims around when Auckland family at centre of new Covid-19 cases were first tested for virus

Papatoetoe High School’s principal says the family at the centre of the new Covid-19 cases did get tested in the first wave of testing as he spoke with pride about how the school was again responding to “getting smacked down”.

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Vaughan Couillault said 700 people had been tested by 530pm last night “without a single bit of complaint”. Source: Breakfast

Vaughan Couillault said the information he had received showed it was “not a no-test scenario, it’s an early-test scenario”, with the family getting tested on Sunday February, 14.

“The second test didn’t happen quite as quickly as everyone else but there are all sorts of reasons in our community that that could happen,” he said.

Couillault’s revelation comes after Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield had earlier told Breakfast that the family hadn’t been tested in the first wave of tests last week before he explained the process of trying to get in touch with the family.

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The Director-General of Health spoke to Breakfast following three new cases linked to Papatoetoe High School.

“There were significant and repeated attempts to get in touch with the family using the school to see if there were other phone numbers,” Bloomfield said.

“One of the other things we have done is there is still a small number of students who haven’t had that first test, they haven’t been back to school, we’ve been using our providers to go out to these homes, find them and make sure that they’re isolating and we can get them in for a test.”

Couillault said there could be a number of reasons for the delay in getting the second test.

“The second test didn’t happen quite as quickly as everyone else but there are all sorts of reasons in our community that that could happen,” he said.

“When you talk to the people face-to-face you understand where they’re coming, we finally got through to them on Sunday afternoon and they tested on Monday I believe.”

Couillault was proud of his school community’s response to the spate of new cases, calling the students “rock stars”.

“We’d done 700 tests by half past five last night, there were a whole lot of kids saying we’re staying, we‘re getting the job done, just awesome,” he said.

“Without a single bit of complaint, just amazing humans.”

Music teachers put on concert for students while they were queuing while maintaining physical distance, with other staff handing out water and sanitiser, Couillault said.

There were eight testers at the school today and “we’re cranking it through”, Couillault said.