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BestStart COVID cluster hits babies as young as eight months old in Auckland

November 29, 2021 1:26 pm
Parents will be continuing with the required testing and isolation. [Source:Alex Burton via NZ Herald]

The Ministry of Education in New Zealand is apologizing to an early childhood education chain for failing to address a COVID outbreak at an Auckland daycare centre which left a dozen pre-schoolers and adults infected with the virus.

However, a person close to BestStart’s Glen Innes centre has told the New Zealand Herald the ministry should be apologising to parents whose children as young as eight months old are battling the virus.

The four adults with the virus comprise two staff members and their respective partners, however, it is believed a parent of one of the children has tested positive.

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It is understood two of the 12 Covid-positive people were quite unwell and called ambulances, but did not require hospital care. It wasn’t clear whether they were children or adults.

The children with the virus range from eight months old to four years old. BestStart had provided care packs to the families impacted.

The incident concerns BestStart’s Apirana Ave centre in Glen Innes. On Friday, November 19, a parent called centre staff to say their symptomatic child – who had been at the centre on Monday and Tuesday that week – had tested positive for the virus.

Staff immediately reached out to a local representative from the Ministry of Education and were advised to “follow the procedures you have used before, starting with the children home and isolating and waiting for the confirmation letters”.

The reference to “procedures you have used before” cites an instance where a positive case was found at a BestStart facility in Weymouth the day before, on the Thursday.

In that incident, BestStart’s Auckland area manager was told a positive case needed to be confirmed by public health staff before action could be taken.

As a result, it was decided the roughly 18 children and staff in the relevant Apirana Ave bubble would remain onsite until parents picked up their children around 3pm on the Friday.

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