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Genomic sequencing reveals latest cases linked to family connected to Papatoetoe High School - Hipkins

Genomic sequencing overnight has revealed yesterday’s cases were most closely linked to the second family connected to Papatoetoe High School, the Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. 

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The Covid-19 Response Minister says it confirms there’s only one cluster, but its size is still unknown. Source: Q+A

Last night, the Ministry of Health announced an older sibling of a Papatoetoe High School student, dubbed Case M, tested positive for Covid-19. The 21-year-old MIT student’s mother, Case N, also tested positive. The cases announced yesterday is now the fourth family connected to the February cluster.

Two members of the second family attend Papatoetoe High School, one of which was a close contact of the initial case at the school. Five members of that household have contracted Covid-19. 

Speaking on Q+A this morning, Hipkins said the pair had contracted the UK variant of the virus, which was expected because of the link to the school. 

"We're expecting there to be genomic link to one or some of our existing cases. And that has been established," Hipkins said. 

Health authorities didn’t know how exactly the transmission had happened - the epidemiological link - and how far it had spread through the community, he said. But, this confirmed there was only one cluster. 

“This particular case could well have been infectious for over a week now," he said.

“It’s unlikely we wouldn’t see more cases. How many cases at this point we simply don’t know.”

Hipkins said there would be an “extensive” wave of testing coming.

“Please get a test now,” he said to people who may have been at one of the locations a case visited while potentially infectious.

The Ministry of Health is updating its website as new information about this becomes available.