Many of those who have contracted the UK variant of Covid-19 have had muscle aches and lethargy rather than the typical respiratory symptoms of earlier coronavirus variants of flu, Dr Ashley Bloomfield says.
The Director-General of Health told Breakfast that he wanted to alert people to the change of symptoms experienced by yesterday’s first Covid-19 case linked to Auckland Papatoetoe High School, last week's Case A at Papatoetoe High School, and the January case in Northland.
“She had had an onset of symptoms late last week, but this is the interesting thing and we have seen this now in the last few cases with this variant, not-typical symptoms, I want to alert people to this that muscle aches and lethargy, not the typical respiratory symptoms,” he said.
“We saw this in the case in Northland, we’ve seen it out here and even our first case from this school [Papatoetoe High School], the young girl who thought her muscle aches were from walking around Mt Taranaki.”
Earlier variants of the coronavirus typically brought on respiratory symptoms in those infected, including coughing and a sore throat.
Bloomfield couldn’t explain why yesterday's first case, a Papatoetoe High School student, didn’t get a test last week in the initial wave of testing in the school community.
“There were significant and repeated attempts to get in touch with the family using the school to see if there were other phone numbers."
“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.”
“This is an unusual presentation and that may be why she didn’t trigger but she hadn’t gone back to school, she did get tested on Monday and that’s why we’ve found the case quite early in its infection.”
Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault offered a conflicting view on efforts to get yesterday's first case and the family tested.
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.