Two more Covid-19 cases announced; Kmart staff identified as close contacts

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 Feb 2021, 6:57PM
Ashley Bloomfield. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Ashley Bloomfield. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Two more Covid-19 cases announced; Kmart staff identified as close contacts

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 Feb 2021, 6:57PM

Two new community cases of Covid-19 have been announced tonight.

The two cases are household members of the positive case announced earlier today.

"The Ministry of Health was this afternoon notified that two siblings of today's positive case from Papatoetoe High School have also tested positive for Covid-19," the ministry said in a statement.

"The siblings are a teenager and an infant. The parents and a third older sibling have returned negative tests. The family has been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility."

Today's initial case, a Papatoetoe High School student known as Case I, has not been at school. They are a casual plus contact of the initial Papatoetoe High School case and had been advised to self-isolate and get tested.

The teenage sibling, known as Case J, recently finished school and has been working at Kmart Botany, the ministry said.

Case J was at work on Friday February 19 and Saturday February 20 between 4pm and 10pm. Kmart Botany is regarded as a location of interest.

"Therefore anyone who was at Kmart Botany, 500 Ti Rakau Drive, Botany Downs, at these times is considered a casual plus contact.

"If you are a casual plus contact, you are advised to immediately isolate at home and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on isolation timeframes and testing requirements.

"Thirty-one staff at Kmart have already been identified as close contacts and are isolating and being provided with public health advice."

Dark Vapes in East Tamaki has also been added to the ministry's locations of interest for the newest case.

People who visited Dark Vapes in East Tamaki on February 19 between 2.30pm and 4pm and February 20 between 7pm and 8.30pm are being considered as casual plus contacts and should stay home and get a test.

Those who visited either Kmart Botany or Dark Vapes on February 19 should get a test tomorrow and those who visited on February 20 should wait until February 25, according to updated information on the MoH website.

Other locations of interest for the three cases are being investigated and will be notified when available.

The ministry said the infant, known as Case K, did not have childcare outside the home.

A testing centre was set up at Papatoetoe High School early this afternoon and 672 tests were done today. Testing will be available again at the school tomorrow.

The school community has been requested to get tested if they had not done so today.

The ministry says everyone in a Papatoetoe High School household must stay away from work or any other school, educational facility or community setting (eg the supermarket or any other place outside the home).

The school remains closed and no students or staff will be able to return until advised by a Medical Officer of Health.

At this point, household members who are not students or staff do not need to be retested, unless they have symptoms or are asked to do so.

"We will be providing updates on contact tracing tomorrow. Whole genome sequencing of Case I will be available tomorrow," the ministry said.

Kmart's Botany department store was closed around 5.30pm today for deep cleaning.

Residents said a sign was now hanging on the store's door, saying it had been closed for cleaning after a confirmed case of Covid.

One shopper said he and his partner were walking in the store when a staff member stopped them at the door.

"He said: 'You need to get out," he said.

"We looked behind him and staff were putting masks on or had already put masks on."

The shopper said another lady came out of the store just after them. She had been at the checkout but was told to "drop everything and get out now".

The shopper said other shops nearby remained open and didn't appear to be affected.

A second shopper told the Herald he arrived at Kmart Albany about 6pm when staff were leaving.

When he asked one of them what had happened they told him they were closed for deep cleaning.

"I asked if it was Covid and they nodded," the shopper said.