Glamorgan School, Torbay.

The geographical spread of the Covid-19 cluster becomes clearer as a North Shore school is told a pupil tested positive and two Mangere education facilities record cases

A child has tested positive for Covid-19 on Auckland’s North Shore – with staff and parents of Glamorgan School in Torbay told health officials now need to establish a list of all close contacts for testing.

The child was at school as late as Tuesday but not symptomatic, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service announced to the school community tonight. “There will be a great deal of concern in the school community, but the child did not have symptoms while at school. This means there is a lower risk of the illness having been passed to other students.”

Stuff reports that another school, Southern Cross Campus in Mangere and the Taeaofou i Puaseisei Preschool are also now shut due to a coronavirus case at each facility, a six year-old Year 2  boy and a pre-school girl.

And the Manukau Institute of Technology has also told students that one of their number studying in Techpark’s general engineering area at the South Campus, Otara, has tested positive for the virus. It said the regional health service had carried out a full study and determined the student had not been sick while at MIT so no staff or students have been declared close contacts.

Glamorgan School has been closed immediately, even to children of essential workers, until Monday at the earliest, and if other cases were confirmed it could be closed for longer, the ARPHS letter said.

The case is one of the 13 new community cases confirmed yesterday by the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, from a cluster that started with confirmed cases in a household in Papatoetoe on Tuesday. That cluster now involves 17 cases, including a student at Mt Albert Grammar School and workers at the Americold coolstore in Mt Wellington and Finance Now in Mt Eden.

The infected child was now “at home in quarantine” the letter said, despite Bloomfield having announced all new cases would be moved to a quarantine facility. The child’s household was now self-isolating.

“ARPHS is currently working carefully with the school to identify the close contacts of the confirmed case. Close contacts include the students and staff members who may have been in the same class as the student.” The service would not say whether the child was a boy or girl but Ministry of Health records show the only primary age case in the Waitemata health board area yesterday to be a girl aged 10 to 14.

Glamorgan School, which is in Glamorgan Drive, Torbay, and has a roll of about 550 students, is the farthest point north to be affected by the cluster that has plunged Auckland into Level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country into Level 2 restrictions. Bloomfield did say at his Thursday press conference that one of the new cases had been briefly admitted to North Shore Hospital on Wednesday night but released in the morning.

Two Noel Leeming stores on the North Shore have also been told a person exposed to the virus may have visited their sites.

Under a new order by Bloomfield, announced on Thursday, the confirmed cases of Covid-19 were to be moved to managed quarantine facilities. 

Bloomfield said this was to prevent the spread of Covid-19 within households. 

“We see most transmission occurs in households.

“Our priority is to ensure that this virus does not take hold and spread in our communities.

“The virus is the problem, not the people who have contracted it.”

All the cases of community transmission identified so far are considered one “cluster”.

Three of the 13 new cases in the cluster are employees of the Americold cool storage facility in Mt Wellington. Seven new cases were family members of those workers. 

Another is an employee of Finance Now (another workplace linked to those original four cases of community transmission) and yet another confirmed case was a family member of a Finance Now employee.

A student at Mount Albert Grammar school has also tested positive for the virus. They are a relative of the previously announced cases.

One of the people infected with Covid-19 visited an aged residential care home in the Waikato. The facility has not yet been named as residents and their families are still being informed. Staff and residents are being tested, and the one test returned so far was negative.

Bloomfield acknowledged there had been increased demand for testing; 10,000 swabs were collected on Wednesday and the lab processed 6006 tests. There is also one additional new case, a woman recently arrived in the country and in managed isolation, bringing today’s total new cases to 14.

Rotorua trip triggers app alert

More details have been released about the trip two people, one of whom later tested positive for Covid19, made to Rotorua and an app alert has been sent to people who may have visited the same venues at that time. 

“This morning, for the first time, we have utilised the alert function on our Covid tracer app which allows us to send a notification to anyone who have scanned into locations at the same time that we know people who have tested positive for Covid-19 were there,” Bloomfield said.

App alerts were sent to people who scanned in to the Rotorua Heritage Farm and Skyline Gondola at the times those two people visited.

The two also travelled to Taupo and took a Sail Barbary eco sailing boat trip on August 10 then came back and visited Burgerfuel in Rotorua that same day.

The family stopped in at Hamilton on August 11 to fill-up on petrol on their way to Auckland, but the Ministry of Health was confident they did not come into contact with anyone when they did.

Bloomfield thanked people for downloading the app and said 338,000 new users had downloaded it since Tuesday – a 50 percent increase in users.

“I understand that there was some slowness for people in downloading the app because of the volume of people who were doing so.”

Sam Sachdeva is Newsroom's national affairs editor, covering foreign affairs and trade, housing, and other issues of national significance.

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