No new community cases of Covid-19 today – Chris Hipkins

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

Watch the Covid-19 update here:

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative.

Hipkins thanked the school for their leadership and for responding positively.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says there are two new cases in MIQ – one of which is historical.

He says he knows yesterday’s news was unsettling, “but it does not need to be alarming”.

There are 11 Covid-19 cases in total in the Auckland cluster.

Dr Bloomfield says genomic testing links the original school girl and yesterday’s first case, also a student at the school.

He says the locations of interest page on the Ministry of Health website is a one-stop shop for information for contacts.

At Papatoetoe High School, 328 tests have been done today. Six students have not yet been tested.

There are also 874 people who have indicated they were at a location of interest from yesterday’s cases.

These people are being treated like close contacts, Dr Bloomfield says.

He says visits to houses are undertaken if necessary to make sure people are provided with the support they need.

Several of the recent Covid-19 cases have had atypical symptoms like muscle aches and tiredness, and it’s something people need to keep in mind, Dr Bloomfield pointed out.

Wastewater testing has come back negative.

On Covid-19 vaccinations, Hipkins says today the first 40 border workers at Christchurch Airport have received the vaccine – the first in the South Island.

He says 76,000 doses were flown to New Zealand yesterday.

Nearly 500,000 special purpose needles also arrived yesterday.

Hipkins says he isn’t away of any wastage of the vaccine doses.

Dr Bloomfield says he’s heard reports out of the US that the vaccine can be stored at a lower temperature rather than ultra low but it’s the time that the vaccine needs to be used in that’s important.

He says while some families have been contacted, they didn’t go and get a test.

There weren’t visits done before the end of the weekend, he said.

“There may have been reasons why they couldn’t get testing, remembering the younger student is only 13 and she may have had to rely on others to get to testing.”

This is why the protocol not to allow students back unless they received a negative test, was important, he says.

Nurses have in most cases been able to get six doses out of the five-dose vial, Dr Bloomfield says.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health announced three new community cases of Covid-19, all connected to the latest cluster and all the UK variant.

The three new cases are from one family.

The person who works at Kmart was, on one of the days she was working, providing click and collect for customers. Bloomfield says this will be easy to trace. She was also standing at the front of the store counting the number of people coming in during one shift, he says.

Hipkins says work is being done to support all of the families impacted by the latest community cases.

Dr Bloomfield says it’s important testing is done at least five days after exposure to the virus.

Hipkins says people are being asked to isolate for a reason and people need to do the right thing – it helps us to avoid further measures.

Dr Bloomfield says he’s been advised it may be good for him to be vaccinated soon.

He says he doesn’t want to be seen to jump the queue but he says feedback is that people may see that as showing his confidence in the vaccine.

Earlier today, Dr Bloomfield said he did not think a change in alert levels was needed.

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