Covid 19 coronavirus: School hostel closed after community meeting-goers exposed

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

Otorohanga College has today posted on Facebook page that a contagious person was on a flight out of Wellington to Hamilton with members of the local school community.

The locals then attended a community meeting in Kawhia, about 60km east of Otorohanga, where many school families live.

The Ministry of Health has not yet released any information publicly about a positive case on a Wellington to Hamilton flight so it is not clear if it is a new community case.

But the college said it had recieved a message this morning from the district health board confirming the case. The Ministry will reveal more details at its 1pm press conference today.

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

It included some of the whanau who attended a meeting in Kawhia.

“Therefore, we have taken the very real precaution of meeting the buses as they arrive to ask both buses, with students on board, to return to the coast,” said the school in an urgent post.

“Kawhia bus has already done so and is on its way home as I type this message and Tahaaroa will shortly follow suit, with our babies still on the bus.”

The King Country school today requested everyone who had had contact with anyone at the meeting to urgently get tested and to isolate until they recieved a negative result.

As a precaution the hostel would be temporarily closed until school management could ensure it was safe to reopen, the post read.

“We are confident we are being proactively cautious and will keep everyone posted,” said the college.

The Otorohanga College runs a five-day a week hostel. Students arrive on Monday morning and return home on Friday afternoons. Most of the boarders come from Taharoa, Kawhia, Marokopa and outlying coastal areas.

The college also asked if anyone had contact with anyone from their coastal communities in the last 24 hours to get tested and remain isolated.

The college added the covid-positive person was not in attendance at the hui but was on a flight to Hamilton and whanau who attended the Kawhia gathering could possibly have been exposed to them.

The temporary closure of the hostel was a proactive and cautious move in a bid to “keep our babies, communities and selves safe”.

Officials confirmed on Friday that a Defence Force worker at the Jet Park quarantine facility, in Auckland, had tested positive for Covid-19.

A second worker, from Wellington, then tested positive for the virus after being in the same meeting as that person last Wednesday. That peson then caught a flight from Auckland to Wellington the next evening – on Thursday, November 5.

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