Covid 19 coronavirus: One new community case from Valentine’s Day cluster, two others in managed isolation

There are two new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and one new community case – a person linked to the Auckland February cases and who has been in quarantine from Tuesday, February 23 to report today.

The latest community case is a household contact of other confirmed cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

The person was tested on arrival into quarantine and returned a negative result. But they subsequently developed symptoms and returned a positive test, according to the Ministry of Health’s statement today.

“As the person was possibly infectious for up to 48 hours prior to developing symptoms, [that person’s] workplace is being treated as a location of interest.”

The community case in quarantine worked at KFC Botany Downs between 3.30pm onMonday, February 22 and 12.30am on Tuesday, February 23.

There are three categories of contacts related to the KFC exposure event. The Ministry of Health is asking all contacts to call Healthline.

“KFC staff – there are 11 close plus contacts who worked at the same time. These people will be tested and required to isolate for 14 days along with their household contacts.”

PM 'frustrated' by new KFC case

Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the person should have been isolating, and asked others who were now affected to isolate.

When asked how she felt about this, Ardern said: “No question of course, like everyone, frustrated, but one thing we need to know that even if they have made the wrong choice, that they still do what we need them to do.”

The person who was tested as positive was still required to stay at home and be tested, “for good reason”.

She said authorities were now asking everyone else who was in KFC at that time to stay home and isolate.

Health officials say members of the public who entered the KFC store between 3.30pm on Monday, February 22 and 12.30am on Tuesday, February 23 are considered close contacts and should isolate at home for the remainder of the 14-day period (untilMarch 8), and be tested on day 5 (tomorrow) and day 12.

People who went through the KFC drivethrough between 3.30pm on Monday, February 22 and 12.30am on Tuesday, February 23 are considered casual plus contacts.

Health officials say these people should isolate at home until a negative day 5 test result is returned.

“For these contacts day 5 is tomorrow so they should get tested tomorrow and remain isolated until they get their test result.”

“We are asking anyone affected by this latest KFC exposure event to get tested tomorrow not today to limit waiting times at testing centres. All contacts should call Healthline.”

Meanwhile, health officials say all but one of the initial 31 close contacts at Papatoetoe High School have reported negative Covid-19 results.

All the remaining students and staff at the school have been designated as casual plus contacts of Case A. There have been 1537 casual plus contacts.

“We continue to work closely with the school to ensure all staff and students are tested. Where necessary, this includes visits to students homes to make sure people are getting the support they need to access testing and remain isolated.”

The cluster, which initially plunged Auckland into level 3 lockdown for three days, is now 12 people – all in managed quarantine at the Jet Park hotel.

Officials’ focus had previously been on Botany Kmart, where one member of the cluster worked while they were Covid-19 positive.

That person caught the virus from a family member who is a student at Papatoetoe High School.

As they were at work while they had the virus, but were non-symptomatic, the Ministry of Health has labelled 15 staff members “close plus” contacts.

In this category, people are advised to do the same as a close contact and keep their household members at home in isolation until they return a negative day-five test.

Officials have identified 32 staff members identified as close plus contacts at the Botany Kmart, where one of the Covid-19 positive family members, now at Jet Park, worked.

That’s more than doubled from yesterday, when the number was 15.

“This number has increased from that previously reported after further investigation on their contact with the case. All these people have been contacted and are self isolating.”

So far, 24 people from this group have returned a negative result.

“We have also been contacted by 1742 people who reported being at the store at the times of interest,” the ministry said today. That’s up from 1236 people yesterday.

“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. We currently have 1073 negative test results for this group.”

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