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13.8.2020

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has worked with Mt Albert Grammar School to identify around 100 close contacts of a student with COVID-19 at the school.

An ARPHS spokesperson says letters have gone out to all the students and staff in five classes attended by the student on Monday 10 August, informing them they are close contacts and will need to go into self-isolation.

The student was not symptomatic on this day, but has since become sick and tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday.

The whole school community has been sent a letter asking all students and staff who are not close contacts to watch out for symptoms and be tested if they get sick.

Public Health has assured staff and families in the school community that there is a low risk to the vast majority of the students and staff. Some would have only been exposed to the virus for a very short time, and most would have not been exposed at all.

While there will be a great deal of concern amongst families and staff, the service encourages people who have COVID-19 symptoms to be tested at this stage. They should ring Healthline: 0800 358 5453 to discuss testing.

"We have been able to identify the students most at risk, in the student’s classes and they have all been advised to stay at home in self isolation for 14 days, says Headmaster Patrick Drumm.

“Because of privacy concerns, the school will not be telling parents or staff the name of the student who is a close contact, their class or year level,” Mr Drumm says.

The headmaster is appealing to parents, students and staff not to speculate on the identity of the student or family involved, and not to name them on social media, as this can lead to on-line bullying and abuse.

Public Health is asking parents to remind students to practise safe hand, cough and sneeze hygiene to reduce the risk of infection. The advice is:

• Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres outside your home, including on public transport.

• It is highly recommended that you wear a mask if you are out and about.

• Frequently and thoroughly wash (with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds) and dry hands.

• Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene. That means coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a disposable tissue, then putting used tissues in the bin and washing their hands afterwards.

• Carry disposable tissues in bags or pockets. Hand sanitiser is also a useful alternative option if soap and water is not readily available.

More information is available on the COVID-19 and Auckland Regional Public Health Service websites.

 

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