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Tairāwhiti has four new Covid-19 cases, including two intermediate school students in Gisborne

Tairāwhiti has four new Covid-19 cases announced on Thursday.  (File photo)

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Tairāwhiti has four new Covid-19 cases announced on Thursday. (File photo)

Tairāwhiti has four new Covid-19 cases, including two school students – all members of the same household.

One of the new cases was identified late Wednesday night after the Ministry of Health reporting cut-off period. In a statement on Thursday, Hauora Tairāwhiti confirmed three additional cases, which included two students of Ilminster Intermediate in Gisborne.

The Ministry of Health confirmed the four cases in its 1pm press release on Thursday.

Classmates of the students were asked to stay home to reduce any potential spread and allow public health to understand the movements of the students, but the school remained open as normal.

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Hauora Tairāwhiti chief executive Jim Green says he understands parents may be anxious but assures them they have been working closely with the school and Ministry of Education.  (File photo)

ROSA WOODS/STUFF

Hauora Tairāwhiti chief executive Jim Green says he understands parents may be anxious but assures them they have been working closely with the school and Ministry of Education. (File photo)

Hauora Tairāwhiti chief executive Jim Green said work was in full swing to identify close contacts of the cases and locations of interest.

“I understand parents may feel anxious, but students should continue to attend school unless contacted by the school or public health staff. The advice remains for everyone in Tairāwhiti that if you have any symptoms at all, please get tested today and self-isolate at home until you’ve received a negative result.”

Hauora Tairāwhiti had been working with Ilminster and the Ministry of Education since the positive tests were received late on Wednesday night.

Green said with Covid-19 now in the region’s schools, it was more important than ever for children to get vaccinated. “It’s our responsibility to protect our tamariki and vaccination means they are also less likely to pass the virus on to whānau and friends.”

Children with symptoms should get tested and remain at home until returning a negative result.

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Drive-through testing is available at te Tini o Porou (75 Huxley Rd) from 2pm to 4pm on Thursday and Watson Park until midday.

Testing is also available through local GPs or at Te Puia Hospital, though people are asked to ring first to book a time.

Ilminster principal Megan Rangiuia told Stuff the response from the school community had been “really positive” and there was “great support” from their whānau.

Of the school’s 380 students, 155 students and seven teachers had been sent home as a precaution.

We’ve been preparing for this for a couple of years now. Our priority is looking after our kids, especially our kids who have tested positive and those in the class.”

The school had implemented a “split start” with year seven students starting last week and the year eight students on Tuesday. Wednesday was the first day with the full school, which meant contact was limited between year groups.

“I can see the kids are gutted to be going home, and they’ve had a great few days but at the end of the day their safety is the most important thing.”

She said they had received good support and advice from health authorities and would continue to reassess their plans based on official advice. Updates would be provided to whānau as they became available.

A new location of interest was also added on Thursday. Those at the Lonestar Gisborne between 6.30pm and 9pm on Sunday, February 6, are considered “close contacts”, and are asked to self-isolate and get immediately tested, and again five days after exposure.

Waikanae Holiday Park Gisborne was listed earlier in the following week an extended stay by a Covid-19 positive case between January 23 to January 31. The Gisborne City Vintage Railway was also visited on January 30.

Both were considered “close contact” locations, with people advised to follow the same advice above.

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