Coronavirus: Two more community cases found in Auckland

Both new cases are Papatoetoe High School students.
Both new cases are Papatoetoe High School students. Photo credit: Newshub.

Two new community coronavirus cases have been detected in Auckland, the COVID-19 Response Minister has revealed.

Chris Hipkins notified the Health Select Committee of the new cases in a hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

Both cases are Papatoetoe High School students. One is the classmate of the pupil who was among three community cases detected in south Auckland over the weekend, and the other is that person's brother.

The information had come to light just before the 12pm hearing, Hipkins said, but officials were already looking into how the new cases may have emerged.

Later in the hearing, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield explained both new cases had already been self-isolating due to the first being deemed a close contact.

The other - categorised as a casual plus contact, like all Papatoetoe High School students - was probably infected through exposure to his sibling, he said.

"It's most likely that the chain of transmission is from our original case, to her classmate, who has then passed it onto her brother," Dr Bloomfield said.

"But obviously we will be looking very carefully at whether there are any other positive tests coming out of the high school amongst those casual plus contacts.

"So far, two-thirds of them - over 1000 [students] - have been negative, which is encouraging."

Dr Bloomfield said the recent movements of the two new cases would be investigated, and any other potential contacts identified and tested.

The COVID-19 Response Minister wouldn't be drawn on how this information may affect Cabinet's decision on whether to extend alert level settings, which will be announced at 4:30pm on Wednesday.

However Hipkins said it was important to note they had a known link to the three cases identified on Sunday, and contract tracing had done its job.

He added that there had been a "good, extensive wave of testing" over the last 48 hours, the results of which would help inform their decision.

The Ministry of Health said in a press release that more details about the new community cases would be revealed at the 4:30pm announcement, including locations of interest.