The Ministry of Health has pointed the finger at journalists, saying they are scaring people in the Covid-19 community cluster and this is leading to unfair stigma.
The ministry said in a statement today that it had received reports of people associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship being pursued by media.
“This is creating stress and, crucially, hindering public health work as these people are becoming reluctant to answer their phones.”
“We ask that the privacy of people who are part of the fellowship be respected – nobody asks for Covid-19 to come into their home, workplace, or place of worship”.
The ministry said it was also creating a sense of stigma which was unhelpful for public health efforts: “We need people to be forthcoming and cooperative with testing and contact tracing.
“Those affected by the virus need our collective support, and we need their cooperation to ensure COVID-19 does not spread further in our communities”.
One new case
Meanwhile, a new community case of Covid-19 was reported today.
The new case had an epidemiological link to an existing case and was associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship bereavement events group, the ministry said.
There were a number of inter-related cases and contacts who may have been involved with both the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship sub-cluster, and the bereavement sub-cluster.
“We have worked with Auckland Regional Public Health Service to refine our information to more clearly identify those whose source of infection occurred at the bereavement events,” the ministry said.
“As a result, we can now say there are 33 cases in the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group and 13 cases in the bereavement sub-cluster, which includes the cases whose source of infection was the bereavement events.”.
Church leaders were actively encouraging all members of the congregation to be retested, and at 8am laboratories had registered new tests for 82 per cent of the congregation.
There were now 70 people linked to the community cluster who remain in the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 55 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 and their household contacts.
Today there were three people in hospital with Covid-19 – one is in isolation on a ward in Auckland City Hospital. Two are in ICU, at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.
Henderson North School
One of the cases reported yesterday is a student at Henderson North School.
The student is a household contact of a previously reported case, and as such had been in isolation and had been tested for Covid-19.
They were not infectious when they last attended school and there are no close contacts among the Henderson North School community.
The risk to any students or staff is considered to be very low, and the school remains open.