Covid 19 Coronavirus: New positive community case is casual plus contact in Auckland

A new positive community case has emerged in Auckland this morning.

The individual is a casual plus contact of the community cases linked to the February outbreak who had been advised to self-isolate and get tested.

The Ministry of Health will provide more information in a press conference at 1pm.

A casual plus contact is a person who has visited a location of interest at the same time as a person who has since tested positive for Covid-19, but does not meet the criteria for a close contact.

There are 27 locations of interest connected to the latest outbreak in the Papatoetoe area and 1416 casual plus contacts identified.

Of those contacts, 1402 had returned negative tests and yesterday the Ministry of Health said there were 13 results outsanding.

The official advice for anyone who has been identified as a casual plus contact is advised to stay home, get a test and to call Healthline.

Yesterday the Ministry of Health said a number of casual plus contacts at Papatoetoe High School have been required to have a second PCR test. It included four teachers and 28 students where a record of the test result wasn’t available or a more recent test was required.

Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault said at the moment he did not have enough information to comment on the latest development.

He asked for another hour to be more fully informed about the evolving situation.

So far the Auckland cluster has involved two family groups.

The first cases, a mum and teenage daughter, tested positive on February 13.A day later the father tested positive.

The second family at the heart of the cluster involved a classmate of the teenage girl from the first family. She tested positive on February 16 went on to infect her older brother, also a high school pupil, and her mum and dad. Another teenage girl in the family tested positive on February 21.

It comes as Auckland joined the rest of the country at Alert Level 1 from midnight, regaining the freedom of being able to return to work, school, sports and attend large events without restrictions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the move after more than a week of heightened alert settings, saying it came after 72,000 tests since last Sunday.

In that time eight Covid-19 community cases have emerged within two families associated with children at Papatoetoe high School.All are genonically linked, with all close contacts testing negative.

The latest case to emerge in the community came yesterday with the Ministry of Health saying it was linked to the Papatoetoe cases and the public health risk was considered very low.

The person was a household contact of the second family infected by the virus and had not been in the community while contagious.

However, mystery still surrounds the cause of the outbreak. The ministry said the Auckland Airport precinct where the woman at the start of the February cluster worked remained “the most likely source of the outbreak”, but further testing had not identified any potential transmission routes.

All scenarios for possible infection sources of the Auckland February cases continue to be thoroughly investigated.

ESR has been reviewing all B.1.1.7 strains identified over the last two months to see if there was any possible link to the latest case.

An Auckland managed isolation facility was the focus of investigations with a possible genomic similarity identified between a previous covid-positive person.

All in the Four Points by Sheraton facility in late December were now being retested. Of the 265 returnees, 36 had since gone overseas and 11 of the 229 in New Zealand were proving difficult to contact.

Close contacts were expected to return to school tomorrow or when advised by Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

Contact tracing had identified 125 close contacts.

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