2 already reported COVID-19 community cases; 2 cases in managed isolation

There are two cases of COVID-19 in the community to report. These cases were reported yesterday evening, and are part of the Auckland February cluster.

There are two new cases of COVID-19 to report in managed isolation.

Auckland February cluster – two community cases reported yesterday

Following their positive COVID-19 test results yesterday, Case M and Case N – who are household contacts – are now in the Auckland quarantine facility.

Whole Genome Sequencing results confirm Case M is linked to the existing cluster, through the family that includes cases D, E, F, G, and H. Contact tracing teams have also identified a link between the two households.

As with other cases in this cluster, Case M is confirmed to have the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus, which was first identified in the United Kingdom.

Genome sequencing results to date supports all the cases in the cluster being linked, which reinforces we are currently looking for the source for only one cluster at this stage. The investigation into the cluster’s source continues to be a focus. This work is being led by the team from the Auckland regional public health unit with support from the Ministry of Health and ESR. We continue to investigate epidemiological links, carry out Whole Genome Sequencing, and test wastewater in Auckland.

New locations of interest

Public health officials are continuing to interview Case M and Case N, and locations of interest will continue to be updated on the Ministry of Health website.

A strong focus for public health staff in Auckland is working to identify any contacts at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) Manukau campus. The dates and times of potential exposure events are on the Ministry’s website, on the locations of interest page. This page also has public health advice for people who were at the campus at these dates and times. The vast majority of people on the campus at the same times as Case M are considered casual contacts and need to watch for symptoms. They do not need to have a test unless they have symptoms, or are a close or casual plus contact.

At this stage, around 20 close contacts at MIT have been identified.

Border

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), alongside the Ministry of Justice, is working to ensure essential workers can get through the Auckland border as quickly as possible. We have been advised that for those who had a previous travel exemption, usually to get to work, their exemptions remain in place and they do not need to reapply.

Health workers moving across the border will be able to show their work identification so they can travel to work easily.

It is important for businesses to check in with their workers and anyone with symptoms should stay home and be tested if they were at any of the locations of interest at times when they could have been exposed.

Auckland February cases contact tracing update

KFC Botany Downs contacts

KFC staff – there are 11 close plus contacts who worked at the same time as Case L. These people were due for their day 5 test yesterday. Four of these people have returned negative test results so far.

All other test results received so far have come back negative.

Detailed advice about the actions required for the different categories of contacts is provided on the Ministry of Health website.

Progress with tests at Papatoetoe High School

Case A had 31 close contacts at the school, one of these tested positive (Case D). All others have tested negative for COVID-19.

All the remaining students and staff at the school have been designated as casual plus contacts of Case A.

There are 1,520 casual plus contacts. This number has reduced from previous days following further investigation. As at 8am this morning, excluding the three positive cases (Case E, I and J), 1,515 students and staff have returned at least one negative test result since 15 February.

All casual plus contacts have been undergoing a follow-up test on or after 22 February. So far, all results from the additional testing have been negative.

Kmart Botany contacts

A total of 33 staff members have been identified as close plus contacts. This number has reduced from previous days following further investigation.

All 33 people have tested negative.

We have been contacted by 1,804 people who reported being at the store at the times of interest. They have been provided with public health advice. These people have been asked to isolate for 14 days and be tested at day 5 and day 12 after their exposure to the case. People who have symptoms will be tested at different intervals.

We currently have 1,760 negative test results for this group.

Locations of interest – self-isolation requirements

Anyone who has visited any locations of interest at the times specified should check the Ministry website for advice.

Those that have received a text with their initial COVID-19 test result should continue to follow the advice given for the period of self-isolation.

If you have symptoms but have not been to a location of interest stay home and call Healthline for advice.

Up-to-date information on testing locations in metro Auckland

11 community testing centres in the Auckland region are open today — they are in Takanini, Wiri, Mangere, Otara, Botany, Pakuranga, Balmoral, New Lynn, Henderson, Northcote and Kohuora Park in Papatoetoe.

We are monitoring the situation continuously and will continue to increase capacity and hours at the current CTCs and open additional testing sites.

We understand that people may be feeling anxious, but it’s important the right people get access to testing. Please don’t rush to a testing centre if you are well, or if you weren’t at one of the locations of interest at the stated times.

If you have been to a location of interest at the stated times, please visit the locations of interest web page to find out if and when you need to get tested.

For up-to-date information on testing locations in Auckland, visit www.arphs.health.nz/covid19test, for all testing locations nationwide visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/.

Alert Level 3 in Auckland; Alert Level 2 for the rest of the country

Visit the Unite Against COVID-19

/Public Release. View in full here.