Pupil at bubble school tests positive for Covid-19 in Waikato – Stuff.co.nz

pupil-at-bubble-school-tests-positive-for-covid-19-in-waikato-–-stuffco.nz

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CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

A pupil at Newstead Model Country School has tested positive for Covid-19, and those who are close contacts are isolating and being tested.

A Waikato pupil who has tested positive for Covid-19 after attending an alert level 3 bubble school may be the first such case in the Delta outbreak, says a public health expert.

Newstead Model Country School, on the outskirts of Hamilton, was informed of the new case on Wednesday evening, a statement on the school website said.

It’s understood the child’s case is linked to the Te Awamutu cluster, and that a bubble of eight students and four teachers had contact with the pupil, Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson said.

There were four new cases community cases in Waikato on Thursday – all are contacts of existing cases.

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It’s most likely that the new case is linked to Waikato’s current outbreak, said Professor Nick Wilson of the University of Otago, Wellington.

SUPPLIED

It’s most likely that the new case is linked to Waikato’s current outbreak, said Professor Nick Wilson of the University of Otago, Wellington.

The school said its board of trustees had been notified, along with staff and the families of pupils who are considered close contacts.

This could be a first, University of Otago Professor Nick Wilson said.

“As far as I’m aware, this is the first time a student has tested positive for Covid while at school during in this Delta outbreak and it’s the first bubble school outbreak I’m aware of.”

The most likely scenario is that this is linked to existing Waikato cases, Wilson said.

Newstead Model Country School, near Hamilton, found out about the positive result on Wednesday evening.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Newstead Model Country School, near Hamilton, found out about the positive result on Wednesday evening.

No bubble learning would happen on site on Thursday and Friday “due to the impact of staff needing to isolate and/or get tested”, the school said.

All students who were in the child’s “red bubble” on Tuesday, along with staff who had contact with the student indoors, are considered close contacts.

They will be isolating for 14 days and will undergo testing, while public health remains in contact with all close contacts.

Students in the “blue bubble” on Tuesday are not considered close contacts and can continue attending school if they wish.

Stuff has approached the school for comment.

The case isn’t believed to have been highly infectious at this time, a Waikato District Health Board statement said.

“Public health staff are treating all 10 students and four staff in that individual’s school bubble as close contacts and are providing them with support and guidance,” it read.

There will be no on-site bubble learning at Newstead Model Country School for two days.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

There will be no on-site bubble learning at Newstead Model Country School for two days.

How long the pupil was infectious for will determine how widely it has spread, Wilson said.

“Depending on the timing of infection, and what we are seeing with the Delta variant, there is a high chance the children would have been infected.”

For example, students in the pupil's red bubble could see very high transmission, especially if the children weren’t wearing masks, Wilson said.

Staff and students at the Waikato school have been asked to get tested.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Staff and students at the Waikato school have been asked to get tested.

It’s an encouraging message for parents to get their children tested, Wilson said, and another reason the vaccine for the 5 to 11-year-olds should be approved.

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson understands the school set up three bubbles of eight to reduce the risk of any potential virus spread.

“The parents of the other seven children have been contacted,” Sanson said.

“From what I know, it’s a clear contact with a Te Awamutu case.”

The news was “bitterly disappointing” to Sanson, who said it was a great school and it was “unfortunate that whoever interacted with someone from Te Awamutu has bought this home”.

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson understands the case is connected to Te Awamutu and that seven students and four teachers were close contacts.

Tom Lee/Stuff

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson understands the case is connected to Te Awamutu and that seven students and four teachers were close contacts.

Newstead Model Country School is not accepting any new students into bubbles until further notice, a notice from principal Meg Campbell said.

“I will provide any further updates on this evolving situation as they come to hand. Our thoughts are with the student, their family and all our other families who have been impacted at this time.”

Students in Years 11, 12 and 13 in alert level 3 areas were able to return to school on Tuesday, but children, Years 1 to 10, were asked to stay home unless their parents or carers were essential workers.

All students and staff must wear a face covering when at school unless they are exempt, the Covid-19 website read.

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