Three new Covid cases in Waikato - including two school students

Mangatangi School is a small elementary school in rural Waikato. Photo: Supplied via NZ Herald
Mangatangi School is a small elementary school in rural Waikato. Photo: Supplied via NZ Herald
Three members of a Waikato household linked to a remand prisoner with Covid-19 have also tested positive for the virus.

One is a child who was symptomatic while at school on Thursday.

The three new cases bring the total announced today to 27. At least three of them are unlinked to the existing outbreak, not including the positive trio in Waikato.

All of the Covid-19 cases in the outbreak were restricted to Auckland until the three new Waikato cases were announced by the Ministry of Health this evening.

Two of the three new Waikato cases - who are all in the same household - attend Mangatangi School on the Hauraki Plains. All three positive cases, and an accompanying adult caregiver, are being moved to a quarantine facility.

The school has been closed and parents have been contacted. Arrangements are being made for the students and their families to be tested.

There are nine people in the household. Five others have tested negative and the ninth household member will be tested tomorrow.

The prisoner linked to the household was released on e-monitored bail from Mt Eden Prison on 8 September to a residence in the Firth of Thames.

Electronic monitoring shows the man remained at the property from September 8 until he self-reported to Police at the East Coast Road boundary checkpoint at Waharau Regional Park.

The prisoner was held in custody in a cell before appearing in the Manukau District Court on Friday. He later tested positive for Covid-19.

A pop-up testing centre will be set up tomorrow at the Wharewaka Marae in Whakatīwai.

Any locals with symptoms are being encouraged to get tested.

A message on Mangatangi School's Facebook page this afternoon said it had "informal notification" of a positive Covid case in its school community and will close tomorrow.

"The public health unit are urgently completing Covid testing," principal Christine West said in the post.

She said the school's Board of Trustees decided to close the school on Monday in the interest of tamariki, whanau and staff, and urged anyone who had symptoms to get tested.

The post was taken down shortly afterwards.

Mangatangi School is a small rural school and had 109 students on its roll at its last Education Review Office report in 2020.

The school is in an alert level 2 area and had been open to students.

Posts and comments on a community Facebook page for the area said the child's family was getting heckled at their home, with many calling for support for the family.

The principal of nearby Maramarua School, Andre van Schalkwyk, has asked parents to keep their children at home and get tested if they are feeling unwell or showing any symptoms.

The new cases come as the Government is due to make a decision on Auckland's lockdown rules tomorrow.

Cabinet ministers face one of their most difficult decisions of the pandemic, a top epidemiologist says, with the wrong call posing the potential for a Sydney-style flare-up.

After nearly five weeks in lockdown, Aucklanders will tomorrow learn whether the Government will stick to the in-principle decision it made to move the city down to level 3, and the rest of the country back to less restrictive level 2 settings, at midnight tomorrow.
 

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter