No new community cases, positive household held viewing

There are three new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation, and no new cases linked to the Auckland February cluster, the Ministry of Health has announced.

One of the three cases in managed isolation  today is a historical case and not regarded as infectious.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 65. The total number of confirmed cases is 2012.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,683,551.

On Wednesday, 9269 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 7671 tests processed.

All 11 cases associated with the Auckland February cluster remain in the Auckland quarantine facility.

Genome testing results now available for Case K has shown it to be the B.1.1.7 variant and again very closely related to the genome sequence for Cases A and B. 

"This provides further reassurance that the cases from the additional household announced on Tuesday have not appeared from elsewhere in the community. All cases that have been sequenced in this cluster are genomically linked and are connected to the cases at Papatoetoe High School," the MoH said.

Advice to the public

Information on locations of interest for people who may be contacts of Covid-19 cases in the community is available on the Ministry of Health website. This page also contains specific information on what you need to do if you visited a location of interest during the times of possible exposure.

"It’s important everyone stays vigilant and sticks to the basics: staying home if unwell and getting advice about having a test, washing hands, coughing and sneezing into the elbow, and wearing masks or face coverings on all public transport.

Contact tracing

Close Contacts at Papatoetoe High School
Case A had 31 close contacts at the school, one of these tested positive (Case D). All others have tested negative for Covid-19.

Casual Plus Contacts at Papatoetoe High School
For this cluster, all the remaining students and staff at the school have been designated as Casual Plus contacts of Case A.

"As at 8am this morning there have been 1525 casual plus contacts identified at Papatoetoe High School. Excluding the three positive cases (Case E, I and J), 1,490 have returned at least one negative test result since 15 February. We have asked all these casual plus contacts to have an additional test on or after 22 February. So far all results from the additional testing have been negative.

"We continue to work closely with the school to ensure all those in the school community who need to be tested are. Where necessary, this includes visits to students homes to make sure people are getting the support they need to access testing and remain isolated.

Kmart Botany contacts
"A total 15 staff members have been identified as close plus** contacts. This number has decreased from that previously reported after further investigation on their contact with the case. All these people have been contacted and are self isolating. We currently have eight negative test results from this group.

"We have also been contacted by 1236 people who reported being at the store at the times of interest. They have been provided with public health advice. These people have been asked to isolate for 14 days and be tested at day 5 and day 12 after their exposure to the case. We encourage anyone who has visited the store at the times of interest to contact Healthline. We expect this number to increase.

Home viewing
"There was a private home viewing, on behalf of the homeowners, at the residence of the family (Cases I, J, K) on Saturday 20 February. The viewing lasted half-an-hour and was attended by three people. The agent and three attendees were all contacted by Public Health officials on Tuesday. They have all been tested and are awaiting their results.

"The home is not regarded as a Location of Interest as the identities of everyone present is known.

Close plus contact

The ‘close plus contact’ category is for individuals who are advised to do the same as a close contact and to also keep their household members at home in isolation until they return a negative day 5 test.

Close contacts are advised to self isolate for 14 days and be tested on day 5 and day 12.

In both cases, if the individual close contact or close plus contact develops symptoms then their household contacts should again stay home until the contact is cleared with an additional test.

‘Close plus’ is an existing approach.  The classification of close plus contact helps provide flexibility in terms of the public health response to public exposure events as well as helping standardise the approach for health services. 

In essence the close plus contact category is used where the risk of transmission is higher and it means that the contact’s household members are then already in isolation should they subsequently test positive.

Where we think there is a higher level of risk, we now provide this additional layer of protection through the management of close plus contacts.

 

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