There are no Covid-19 cases in the community today, after three cases linked to the Papatoetoe High School cluster were confirmed by the Ministry of Health yesterday.
Half of the tests from the Papatoetoe High School community are in, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said today.
There are now 11 cases associated with this cluster and all of these cases are in the Auckland quarantine facility, Bloomfield said.
“Yesterday’s news of additional cases was unsettling, it feels like another climb up on our roller coaster ride, but it does not need to be alarming,” Bloomfield said.
“I’m confident that the system is working as it should at level 1.”
Genome sequencing results confirmed that the three cases announced yesterday were linked to last week’s first cases from the family with a student at Papatoetoe High School.
“This is what we expected and it does provide reassurance that the cases yesterday have not appeared at random,” Bloomfield said.
“Both cases A, the original schoolgirl, case I yesterday are genomically linked and both are students at Papatoetoe High School and both were at school on the 10th of February.”
Officials were not able to establish a direct source of transmission but it was likely in a school common area, Bloomfield said.
Bloomfield said information around what people should do if they had been at a location of interest or were one of the three levels of contact, close, casual, and casual plus, was available at the Ministry of Health website.
Bloomfield said for yesterday’s cases, I, J and K, there were only four close contacts outside the household so far.
The Director-General of Health said he been getting questions about why close contacts of cases had often not contracted the virus while more casual interactions can lead to infection as it did with yesterday’s first case.
“This seems to be the nature of this virus and particularly these new variants,” Bloomfield said.
Bloomfield said the Ministry would monitor new evidence and research being done on the new variants overseas.
Of the 126 close contacts of cases A through H of this cluster, 123 had test results with two infants making up the remaining three, Bloomfield said.
The ministry was continuing to chase the one remaining person, who was considered a low risk contact.
There were additionally two cases recorded today in New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine facilities, one of which is a historical case.