3 Nov 2020

Cashmere High School student close contact of Covid community case

2:29 pm on 3 November 2020

A Christchurch high school has confirmed one of its students is a close contact of the latest Covid-19 case reported in the community.

Covid-19 case in Christchurch community.

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The Cashmere High School student has tested negative for Covid-19 but is isolating at home as a precaution.

The school is open as normal today.

In a letter to parents, the principal says they appreciate the news may be of concern but that it is important people care and support each other.

The first case of community transmission in the South Island since July involves a worker at the Sudima Hotel isolation facility where more than 200 international mariners are staying.

So far 31 of the fishers have tested positive for the virus.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

Queues formed on Tuesday morning at a Covid-19 testing centre near the Sudima Hotel in Christchurch. Dozens of cars were lined up at the testing station on Orchard Road, near Christchurch Airport.

Mobile Covid-19 testing near Christchurch airport.

Covid-19 tests being offered near Christchurch Airport. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel told RNZ council staff are working with health authorities to try to get an updated briefing for councillors about the situation.

"It's always concerning when a case has been identified ... but I guess the relief is to know that it was one person who worked at an isolation facility, and the one close contact has produced a negative test.

"But it is a reminder that the contact tracing system is absolutely essential to the safe operation of our city, and I want to use this as a reminder to people to use the QR codes ... it's a great record of where you've been and who you've been in contact with."

Dalziel said it was difficult to make judgements about the safety of the quarantine system, as details were not yet clear about what role the person who contracted the virus was carrying out at the facility.

"We don't actually know whether it was a staff member of the hotel, or whether it was one of the managed isolation and quarantine staff, or whether it was somebody else securing the environment.

"It is important that we have facilities available, so that people can be in managed isolation and quarantined if necessary, in these circumstances of bringing people back into the country and managing that safely.

"Every city is being called upon to play its role, so I do support the location of these facilities, but it is important that we have the backstop of the contact tracing system."

Dalziel said it was important to remember the freedoms Christchurch residents have to gather, hold events and celebrations are not available in many other countries where the spread of the virus has been much wider.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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