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Positive case on Wellington-Hamilton flight; school hostel, hotel closed

November 9, 2020 12:40 pm
The Otorohanga College hostel has temporarily closed [Source: NZ Herald]

A Waikato school hostel and hotel has closed after a positive Covid-19 case potentially exposed members of the community on a flight.

The small towns of Kawhia and Otorohanga are now on high alert after learning about the flight.

Otorohanga College today posted on Facebook page that a contagious person was on a flight out of Wellington to Hamilton with a member of the local school community. But the Waikato DHB said the flight was actually from Auckland to Wellington on November 5.

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It is understood the locals then attended a meeting which was also attended by students from the college.

Some people then attended a hui in Te Awamutu on Sunday. Those attending the hui, run by the Maori Women’s Welfare League, have been told by health authorities they do not need to isolate or have a test.

The Waikato DHB said its public health team is in contact with Otorohanga College as the school had raised concerns.

The person on the flight was considered a casual contact with minimal risk of exposure.

They have been tested and the result is pending.

“As, based on current information, the students would be considered casual contacts of someone who was also a casual contact, the DHB’s public health team has advised the school it may continue to operate as normal at this time.

“Anyone who has concerns or develops symptoms is asked to contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) and/or seek a test.”

The college, about 60km east of Kawhia, where many school families live, has closed its hostel, and the Kawhia Hotel has closed temporarily.

Kawhia School this morning remained open saying the school had made contact with the covid centre who advised only close contacts needed to go into isolation and get tested.

Otorohanga said on the medical officer of health supported “our precautionary response to close the hostel temporarily”.

“The expectation is that the hostel re-open Wednesday morning. If you are worried or are symptomatic please get tested.”

Otorohanga Mayor Max Baxter said he’d been told some close contacts of the infected person on the flight may have gone to a number of gatherings in the region.

“We know there’s been a couple of gatherings in Taharoa and Kawhia, but I don’t know at this stage how many people were involved, or whether any of those people were infected.”

He said they’re awaiting instructions from the Ministry about what to do next. He understands some people then went to cafe after one of the gatherings in Kawhia.

A Kawhia Hotel publican, who wanted to be known as Doug, said: “We have a recommendation from the council to remain closed for today while they get more information. It is purely a precaution.”

The school earlier said on Facebook that anyone who was at the airport or on the flight could have possibly been exposed to the virus.

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