One Papatoetoe pupil to be found as 1000 Kmart shoppers deemed close contacts

After resorting to knocking on doors, contact tracers last night had just one Papatoetoe High School student left to track down and test for Covid-19.

The 10-day delay to reach the final handful of students has been labelled "frustrating" by Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins.

Health authorities are now regarding hundreds of customers at two East Auckland stores where a Covid-positive teenager worked and shopped as close contacts in their updated locations of interest schedule.

There are now fresh instructions on what staff, customers and those living in the same households should do if they have been in either the Kmart or vape store at the same time as an infected teenager.

It includes a mandatory spell of quarantine and testing for staff and customers of Kmart Botany and Dark Vapes, with those who share a home with staff to stay put until the affected worker gets back a negative result from the first test.

Contact tracers last week called the students, their families and sent texts and emails in attempts to get hold of everyone and ensure they had tests following the Valentine's Day outbreak at the school.

By the end of the week, more than 98 per cent of Papatoetoe High School's students and staff had been contacted and tested.

However, authorities struggled to track down a small number and took to door-knocking on Monday. By last night it was understood to be down to just one student who hadn't been tested.

One of the students who couldn't be reached went on to test positive on Tuesday. Later that day two of the student's siblings also tested positive.

One of those new cases, a teenage girl, worked two shifts at Kmart Botany, folding clothes, greeting people at the entry and manning the click-and-collect counter in the evenings on February 19 and 20.

The store's 300 staff are deemed newly created "close plus contacts" and have been told to isolate and get tested while the 870 shoppers identified as being there during the teen's shifts are "close contacts".

They have also been told to stay home for the full 14 days and get two tests out of the need to be "especially cautious".

These tests are to take place today and again on March 4.

A new advisory has been issued for people who share a house with Kmart Botany and Dark Vapes customers and staff.

If you share a house with a staff member health authorities are advising everyone to stay in their homes until the employee returns a negative day five test result.

If you share a house with a customer the advice is only to stay at home if the customer has symptoms.

No new community cases were added to the 11-strong Valentine's Day cluster yesterday.

Comments

The term 'shambles' comes to mind. And why on earth did they let all those students from Auckland come to Dunedin in the midst of this mess? Should heads roll? Yes. Will they? No.

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