Three new Covid-19 community cases in Auckland

Source: 1News

There are three new Covid-19 cases in the community today, according the Ministry of Health.

Today's new community cases include a mother, father and daughter from the same household in Papatoetoe, South Auckland.

One positive Covid-19 case was also detected at the border after arriving from the US on February 11, where they tested positive on routine day 1 testing.

Today's new cases were reported in a press conference with Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield at 1.30pm this afternoon.

Of the community cases, the mother is currently employed at LSG Sky Chefs, an airport laundry and catering facility, and undergoes regular Covid-19 testing as part of her job. However, Hipkins confirmed her positive result came from outside regular testing.

LSG Sky Chefs in Māngere, South Auckland.

The most recent negative swab was returned on January 18. She was last at work on February 5, and was not believed to have been at work when she was infectious, Bloomfield said.

He said her main duty involves laundry, but she is also involved in some of the packing and preparation of meals.

The mother and daughter were tested after feeling symptomatic, and returned positive tests late last night. The father, who is self-employed, was later tested, with a positive result coming back late last night. 

He said while the mother's work is connected to air travel, health officials "have not identified a source of these cases and we remain open-minded". 

Whole genome sequencing is now underway to determine if today's new cases are a more contagious strain of Covid-19 that have been detected at the border.

The household has one other household contact who has been tested, whose result is understood to be negative. Bloomfield said they will be taking "swift and proactive action" around potential contacts of the daughter, who is a student at Papatoetoe High School. 

Papatoetoe High School in Papatoetoe, South Auckland.

As a precaution, Papatoetoe High School will be closed Monday and Tuesday, and work is now underway to provide a testing facility on site from tomorrow.

In addition to Papatoetoe High School, another locations of interest includes Pak 'n Save Manukau on Friday between 3.45pm and 5pm as a potential exposure event. 

Pak 'n Save in Manukau.

Two of the cases also visited tourist locations in New Plymouth over Waitangi Weekend, between February 6 and 8, when they may have been developing symptoms of the illness. 

Further information will be expected later today. 

"I want to provide reassurance that our system has swung into action. We are gathering all of the facts as quickly as we can and the system that's served us so well in the past is really gearing up to do so again," Hipkins said. 

"At the meantime, our message to the public and to the people of Auckland is to take the precautions that we all already know about.

"New Zealand’s kept Covid-19 contained better than almost any other country but as we have kept saying, there is no such thing as no risk whilst Covid-19 is out there so we need to stay vigilant and be prepared and we need to respond quickly, as we are doing now, when cases come to light.

"It’s how we stamp out covid-19 that matters in these sorts of circumstances."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will return to Wellington this afternoon to be briefed on the new cases. 

Yesterday, one person who tested positive for Covid-19 died in North Shore hospital.

They had returned a positive result for the virus after being transported to hospital from managed isolation for a non-Covid-19-related condition on February 5.

The death has not been included in the country's official Covid-19 death toll "at this stage", which stands at 25, the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

The total number of active Covid-19 cases in the country now stands at 47.

Our total number of confirmed cases is 1,974.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,586,816.

On Saturday, our laboratories processed 3,343 tests.

New Zealand remains at Alert Level 1, and there are no plans for it to be changed at this stage.