Students and staff at Auckland primary school asked to be tested for Covid

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Sep 2020, 5:35PM
A pupil from Chapel Downs Primary School in Flat Bush has been linked to the Botany sub-cluster in Auckland. (Photo / Google)
A pupil from Chapel Downs Primary School in Flat Bush has been linked to the Botany sub-cluster in Auckland. (Photo / Google)

Students and staff at Auckland primary school asked to be tested for Covid

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Sep 2020, 5:35PM

Health officials have asked all staff and students at an Auckland primary school to be tested for Covid-19 after an infectious student briefly attended on Monday.

Chapel Downs Primary School was last night closed until next Monday, at the earliest, for a deep clean, after the school was informed of the positive case.

Health authorities this morning confirmed that the girl, aged under 10, was connected to the Botany sub-cluster in Auckland. She was not symptomatic while she was at school.

She and three other close contacts were dropped off at the school, on Dawson Rd, for half an hour before being collected again.

The pupil, who had been tested for Covid-19, later received a positive result that same day. She was sent to school despite still waiting on the result.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) today asked all staff and students to be tested for Covid-19, but said the vast majority of people there were considered to be casual contacts.

"An ARPHS spokesperson says a very small number of people are close contacts, and will stay in self-isolation for 14 days until the end of Monday 28 September," ARPHS said in a statement.

"However, the vast majority of the school are being asked to stay away from others outside the home until they are tested and receive a negative result.

"The parents and siblings of these school children do not need to stay at home."

While casual contacts were at a very low risk of developing Covid-19, everyone should be tested and keep an eye out for Covid symptoms as a precaution, the statement read.

Principal Vaughan van Rensburg this afternoon told parents and caregivers a Covid testing site would be on school ground this Friday and Saturday.

The testing site would be open both days from 9am until 4pm.

Van Rensburg, who yesterday told the Herald he was only made aware of the case at 2pm on Wednesday, once again thanked the school community for their support.

ARPHS said it was only informed on Wednesday that the child had attended school while awaiting a positive test result.

"The child who was briefly at school was not symptomatic, but was waiting for results from a Covid-19 test from 13 September," the statement said.

"Understandably, some parents may be upset that they did not hear until Wednesday, however this information was shared as soon as events were confirmed on Wednesday."

On Monday, the Ministry of Health confirmed there was one community case to report - a young girl who was epidemiologically linked to an existing case associated with the Botany sub-cluster.

That sub-cluster, now made up of six people, is genomically linked to the wider Auckland August cluster.

Health officials said that day that the child had been in isolation since August 30; as she was a household contact of an earlier confirmed case.

Given the child had been in isolation since August 30, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period finished on the Sunday before she went back to school.

The family were co-operating with public health authorities and had stayed in isolation until this event, ARPHS said.

The first Botany case was reported on August 28 and is reportedly made up of two households.

By September 5, the sub-cluster included 42 identified contacts at that point.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has previously said that authorities were hopeful the Botany sub-cluster was now well contained.

"It's just that it's appeared quite late - several weeks after the first cases in this outbreak," he said.

Last Thursday, the Ministry of Health released a number of new locations of interest - where confirmed Covid-19 positive cases had visited before being identified.

Meanwhile seven new cases of Covid-19 were reported today, all in managed isolation.

There were no new community cases reported. Four people are in hospital but no-one in ICU.

The Ministry of Health say with the exception of one arrival from Uzbekistan, all new cases were detected as a result of day 3 testing and are now in quarantine.