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Mother ‘furious’ by the delay in announcing the Covid case to the school

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21012016. News Photo.  MEGHAN LAWRENCE / FAIRFAX NZ.  Chapel Downs Elementary School.

Meghan Lawrence / Stuff

21012016. News Photo. MEGHAN LAWRENCE / FAIRFAX NZ. Chapel Downs Elementary School.

This story was originally published in RNZ.co.nz and republished with permission.

An irritated mother took two days for parents to discover that a student at their child’s school had tested positive for coronavirus.

The child was alone at Chapel Downs Elementary School for half an hour Monday morning and tested positive that afternoon, but letters were sent to staff and families only on Wednesday.

They were expecting a Covid test result when they participated.

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A student who dealt with the virus spent a short time at Auckland school.

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Now the Auckland Regional Public Health Service is urging everyone who was there Monday morning – staff and students – to take a test and not interact with people outside their family until they return a negative test.

Ramona Ah Fook, a pregnant mother of two at school, said the morning period is busy and children from all grades would be next to each other.

“There’s a main entrance and another one around the back … When you’re walking down the school gates, everyone gathers together. There’s not enough room, so the kids are breathing a lot with each other,” Ah Fook said. .

The school was closed for cleaning as soon as Monday.

Ah Fook was furious and it took two days to learn about the positive case.

“They have absolutely no right to keep our children, or let our children, go to a place where Covid existed for two whole days. And now they have decided to close the school for a thorough cleaning.”

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service said in a statement that Wednesday’s announcement to staff and parents was “as soon as the events were confirmed on Wednesday”.

“It is understood that some parents may be upset that they did not listen until Wednesday, however this information was disseminated as soon as the events were confirmed on Wednesday,” the statement said.

“ARPHS decided to close the school while investigating the child’s movements and the danger to others. ARPHS also had to identify any close contacts who are at higher risk and should be in self-isolation.”

A “very small” number was determined to be close contact, but no number was given.

“The child who was briefly at school was not symptomatic, but was awaiting results from a Covid-19 test from September 13. The child left school before the children started classes for that day, further reducing the risk to the school community.”

The child and their family are now in isolation, with health authorities monitoring.

The case has spurred a rush of evidence at a nearby tar testing center. A nurse there, Alaviola Pomana, said many more school-related families attended yesterday and today.

“Clusters of kids, maybe 20 or more. I think they’re feeling scared,” she said.

The clinical director at the center, Andrew Chan Mow, said they were busy this morning.

“People are still scared and worried, but it’s good that they are responding to the call to be tested.”

Auckland Regional Public Health said anyone else who was at school Monday morning is considered casual contact. As a precaution it says students and staff should be tested and stay away from people outside the family until a negative result is returned. Their family members can lead a normal life.

Anyone deemed to have close contact will be contacted in person and asked to be isolated for 14 days.

The school will host a test site for pop up tomorrow and Saturday.

This story was originally published in RNZ.co.nz and republished with permission.

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