News that a student at Papatoetoe High School student and her parents have tested positive has left people in South Auckland feeling anxious.
One dairy owner said he was already fielding phone calls, while a customer outside a supermarket one of the cases visited said they are unsure about whether or not they should send their toddler to daycare tomorrow.
A Covid-19 testing facility will be set up at Papatoetoe High School tomorrow morning after a Year 9 student tested positive for the virus yesterday.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the girl and her mother have returned tests which confirm they are “new and active”. Her father has also tested positive.
The minister said Papatoetoe High School will be closed on Monday and Tuesday out of an “abundance of caution”.
Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault said the infected student was only at school for one day last week, on Wednesday.
Couillault said the student stayed at home on Thursday and Friday after her mother became unwell. Last Monday was a holiday and he did not know why the student was not at school on Tuesday.
Five teachers and 28 students are considered close contacts of the infected student and all other students and staff at the school are “casual” contacts.
Couillault has notified all staff and parents by text and email this afternoon.
“Staff and students and their families are being asked to self-isolate for two days if they are casual contacts,” Couillault said.
Near Papatoetoe High School, local man Shiu Lingam raced to Beverly Hills Superette to return a friend’s car he’d been working on.
His friend, superette owner Dilip, was fielding a flurry of calls from friends about the Covid-19 cases.
Lingam said he returned the car as soon as hearing about the new cases, partly because he didn’t know if another lockdown was imminent.
Dilip said he hoped the people who contracted Covid had diligently scanned their check-in apps at every business they’d visited.
Both men said they were worried about the new cases.
For the superette, the nearby school closure would mean a downturn in business.
“Most of the parents come and drop their kids in the area,” Dilip said.
He said at least the contact-tracing seemed to have confirmed at least some of the locations where the people with Covid-19 had been.
Lingam said nobody wanted another lockdown but if it a lockdown was necessary, then the community would have to accept it.
One young family at the Pak’nSave in Cavendish Drive, Manukau, said the new cases made them anxious about sending their boy to daycare tomorrow.
“One the teachers that works there, apparently their child goes to Papatoetoe High School,” the boy’s mother said.
She said the new cases should shake New Zealand out of any complacency.
She said she’d be more diligent about scanning in with the Covid tracer app now.
She said the pandemic could flare up quickly.
“Maybe a lockdown would be good to stop it.”
“We are pretty lucky over here,” her husband said.
But he said the new cases might have a high number of casual and close contacts.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger,” the boy’s father said. “It’s not a small school.”
He said the community could not afford to be lax about Covid-19.
“People are coming in every day from overseas, from the hotspot countries.”
Outside the supermarket, there were no obvious signs of anything out of the ordinary.
“Oh, damn,” one shopper said when informed of the new cases and told Papatoetoe High School would close for two days.
The young family with the boy in daycare said everything inside the supermarket appeared normal.
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