New Plymouth’s Devon Intermediate School has closed in the wake of three positive cases of Covid-19 being found in the city.
They are one adult and two children from the same household.
This family has a known link to an existing case in Rotorua.
Taranaki’s Public Health Unit has commenced a case investigation and contact tracing is underway.
* Covid-19: Taranaki’s Stratford cases ‘reluctant’ to get tested, weren’t using the Covid tracer app
* Race on to find source after Covid-19 found in Taranaki wastewater
* No community cases of Covid-19 in Taranaki, or MIQ
No location of interest have yet been published on the Ministry of Health website.
Anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, is encouraged to get tested.
On Thursday evening New Plymouth’s Devon Intermediate School principal Jenny Gellen sent a notice out stating the school was aware of a confirmed Covid-19 case in “our community”.
”While we are working through the list of contacts, we are closing the school for tomorrow Friday 3rd December”, the notice said.
Gellen advises that information on what people need to do will come by midday Friday on the school Facebook page, Skool Lopp and email.
“In the meantime, please stay home until we can provide a further update.”
Neither the Ministry of Health, nor the Taranaki District Health Board, have released any places of interest yet.
New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom said he understood the family involved had followed all the Covid-19 protocls.
“And for that we are grateful.”
He urged people to remember that first and foremost there was a family who was unwell and the community needed to care for and support them to recover as soon as possible.
“I would urge everyone to remember these are our people, to protect their privacy and avoid speculation about their identity on social media,” he said.
Holdom said the cases were a reminder to those who had not yet been vaccinated that Covid was here and the vaccination was the best means of protection.
“Now more than ever we need to follow the protocols with mask wearing, contact tracing, hand washing and social distancing providing effective protection to reduce the spread of this disease and minimise the impacts on our health sector,” he said.
The positive cases are the first in the city since 2020, and the first cases of Delta.
Last month six cases of Delta were found in the Taranaki town of Stratford, leading to a surge in testing and vaccinations.
The cases were found more than a week after traces of the virus were found in waste water samples taken from the town.
Those cases, all from the same household, have since recovered.
In a statement on Thursday Taranaki DHB said it was preparing for a surge in testing demand.
The New Plymouth and Hāwera testing centres will be open for longer hours starting on Friday 3 December.
For locations and times visit TDHB – COVID-19 testing.
People who still need to receive either their first or second dose were encouraged to get vaccinated promptly.
For vaccination locations and times visit TDHB – COVID-19 vaccine.
Along with the rest of the country, Taranaki enters the traffic light system on Friday. Taranaki will be in orange. The most stringent level is red.
On Thursday Taranaki reached the 90 per cent goal for first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. It has a double dose rate of 82 per cent and is on track to reach 90 per cent before Christmas.
There were 172 new cases of Covid-19 in the Delta community outbreak, including 10 in Nelson-Tasman, announced by the Ministry of Health in a written statement on Thursday afternoon.
The majority of those cases were in Auckland (142), with others in Northland (two), Waikato (15), Bay of Plenty (one) and Lakes (two).
There were 86 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Thursday, nine of whom are in intensive care or high dependency care units (including two in Waikato Hospital).
Of those in hospital in Auckland, 47 cases (63 per cent) are unvaccinated or not eligible because they are under 12.