Tuesday, April 23, 2024

One new case linked to Auckland cluster

There is one new case of COVID-19 in the community linked to the existing Auckland February cases, a household contact of previous cases D, E and F, the Ministry of Health has announced today.

“The case (case G) is a household contact of cases D, E and F which we announced on Wednesday,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“This person had previously returned a negative test, taken on Monday 15 February and has been isolating at home and is in the process of transferring to the Auckland quarantine facility,” it said.

“There is one additional member of this household, who has returned a negative test result, but is also being transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

“Genome sequencing has been completed for case F and shows a clear link to other cases in the cluster.”

There are three new cases in managed isolation today – one of the cases in managed isolation is classified as historical and deemed not infectious, the Ministry said.

Contact tracing and test results

“Other than the known cases which have been reported, all close contacts associated with the cases’ households, school and travel group to New Plymouth have returned negative results.”

Contact tracing has identified 128 close contacts associated with all cases in the cluster, aside from the positive cases which have previously been reported.

“Of these, 112 of the close contacts have returned a negative test result. We are awaiting test results for 16 people. Seven of these people are from the medical clinic and relate to Case C, which is considered a low risk exposure event, and nine are workplace contacts of Case E. All of whom are in isolation and have been or are being tested.”

As at 8am this morning, a total of 31 close contacts and 1,476 casual plus contacts have been identified at Papatoetoe High School.

The number of casual plus contacts has decreased as these people were not at school at the time of exposure, the Ministry said.

“Of the 31 school close contacts, 30 have returned negative results, with one positive result (Case D).”

“Of the casual plus contacts (that is other students and staff at the school), 1412 have returned negative results, there is one positive (Case E), and 63 results are to come.

“We do remind all students and staff at the school to please stay home and have a test if they haven’t already. School is expected to return on Monday 22 February. Close contacts at the school will not return until they have been advised by public health that they can.”

As part of the health authority’s source investigation, LSG Sky Chef staff have also been tested.

All nine contacts in the laundry have returned negative results.

“Of the 444 people in the wider working environment, 384 are negative and 59 results are pending (1 positive, Case B),” the Ministry said.

“Investigations will continue today into the second household group, including further interviews with contact tracing staff. As a result, a potential increase in the number of locations of interest, close and casual plus contacts is not unexpected.

“The priority is for close contacts and close casual contacts to be tested so we can understand any risk in the community.”

For the latest information on locations of interest, and to understand if you are a casual or close contact, please see Contact tracing locations of interest.

Source investigation

“As we have said, all scenarios for potential infection sources continue to be thoroughly investigated including the school, the workplace and a managed isolation facility.”

“For completeness, we have reviewed previous cases for a similar genome and have not found any direct matches.

“A possible genomic similarity – but no direct match – involved a guest at the Four Points by Sheraton managed isolation facility in Auckland.

“Guests and their household contacts who were at the facility in late December are being contacted.”

For the 265 people in the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, 176 have now been contacted.

Of these, 149 have been assessed and cleared; 9 are now overseas; 18 are being followed up by public health units for further investigation.

Of the 89 people to be contacted, finding services have provided details for 44 and they are being contacted. Finding services are actively pursuing details for the remaining 45 individuals.

ESR and health officials say they do not consider this a likely source of infection at this stage.

Testing centres

There are nine community testing centres available for testing across Auckland this weekend – they are in Takanini, Wiri, Otara, Botany, Balmoral, New Lynn, Henderson and Northcote, as well as the dedicated testing site at Papatoetoe High School.

The pop-up testing centre at the school will remain open over the weekend and nearby community testing centres will be operating extended hours to ensure the school community has convenient access to testing. A COVID-19 test is free wherever you go.

For up-to-date information on testing locations in metro Auckland, visit the ARPHS website.

For up-to-date info on all testing locations nationwide, visit the Healthpoint website.

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