Wellington Scoop

Two Hutt students in isolation – household contacts of a new covid-19 patient

Two students from two schools in Lower Hutt are in isolation because they were close contacts of a Defence Force worker known as community “Case B” who has covid-19. Both students have returned negative tests, but will remain in isolation for 14 days.

The Ministry of Health gives this update on what has happened since the two Defence Force workers tested positive for COVID-19:

Defence Force worker Case A works at the Auckland quarantine facility. The genome sequencing we have conducted on Case A’s test result shows a direct link to two returnees who are part of a family group in the quarantine facility. We have not yet determined the source of the exposure, but our investigation is ongoing.

Of the 242 occupants at Case A’s accommodation in Auckland, 239 have returned a negative result, and three are pending. Of the 25 close contacts of Case A, 23 have returned a negative result, and one result is pending. One close contact has returned a positive result, which is Defence Force worker Case B.

We have identified 55 close contacts of Defence Force worker Case B, and of those 32 have returned a negative test result.

Case B has three household contacts, who have all returned a negative test result. These household contacts include two students who attend two different schools, Boulcott Primary and Hutt Intermediate, in Lower Hutt.

These students are in isolation, and they have been tested once and have returned a negative test. The students have not been at school since Friday. As a precaution they will remain in isolation for 14 days.

Parents, caregivers and staff will be receiving a letter around this. As advised in the letter, other students and staff will not need to be tested unless they have symptoms of COVID-19, and as per routine guidance they do not need to self-isolate. Students at these schools are at very low risk.

Regional Public Health in the Hutt Valley will be in touch with the schools concerned if there is any change to the situation. It is business as usual at the schools today.

Of nine close contacts identified from flight NZ457 from Auckland to Wellington on Thursday evening, who were seated near to Case B as he travelled home from Auckland, seven have returned a negative result and the remaining results are pending. A person who was a casual contact from flight NZ457 is now feeling unwell and is being tested. The casual contact is reported to have attended a recent meeting in Kawhia, with members of the Otorohanga College community. Public health staff have been in contact with the school.

Our current assessment is that anyone at that meeting should be vigilant about their health and if they develop symptoms get tested, but no further action than that is required at this stage. Again, the risk for Otorohanga College and the meeting in Kawhia is considered to be very low. The test result from the casual contact who attended the meeting is expected later today.

Push notifications were sent out yesterday for locations of interest that had been visited by Case B.

News from Waikato DHB
Waikato DHB’s public health team is in contact with Otorohanga College as the school had raised concerns over a possible COVID-19 contact. An individual who was on the same flight as a positive case from Auckland to Wellington on November 5 had attended a meeting which was also attended by students from the college. The individual is considered a casual contact with minimal risk of exposure. They have been tested and the result is pending.

As, based on current information, the students would be considered casual contacts of someone who was also a casual contact, the DHB’s public health team has advised the school it may continue to operate as normal at this time. Anyone who has concerns or develops symptoms is asked to contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) and/or seek a test.