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Strong uptake of testing by Marist College community

Testing of the wider Marist College community is paying off with one positive test reported today out of the more than 250 people who have been tested so far.

Students, parents and school staff are being given the opportunity to undergo free COVID-19 testing in a joint initiative between health authorities and the school.

In addition to helping give students, parents and school staff reassurance, the test results will inform planning for the re-opening of the College.

The person who has tested positive for COVID-19 is a student who has been in lockdown since March 20. Their only symptom was a loss of smell that was not significant enough for them to associate it with COVID-19.

They returned a weak positive result and are almost certainly very late in their illness. Health officials say this fits with an exposure at school (prior to 20 March) which would mean this is a previously undetected case, not a recent exposure. The student was not infectious when they were last at school, and are very unlikely to still be infectious.

The student has been in self-isolation since March 20, prior to the onset of their symptoms. Public health is taking a precautionary approach and keeping the student in isolation and then re-testing in a week’s time.

"Uncovering this positive result is a sign our testing programme is successful and I would like to thank everyone in the Marist College community who has been tested," said Auckland Regional Public Health Service Clinical Director Julia Peters.

"There continues to be a very low likelihood of new cases being detected but it is important that we test as many students, families, and staff as possible to give the school community confidence about the way forward."

Marist College Principal Raechelle Taulu said the testing is an important step in ensuring a safe school environment.

"I could not be prouder of the Marist College community. Thank you to the staff, students and families who have been tested. Our results prove that as a school we want the best for both Marist College and New Zealand.

"We are playing our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and I encourage all those who are still to be tested to visit the Community Based Assessment Centres.

"I look forward to being able to thank all our students personally when they walk through gates of their College."

Students and staff have been given a voucher for testing this week at any of the 14 Community-Based Assessment Centres (CBACs) currently operating across metro Auckland.

The testing has been agreed between the School Board, Ministry of Education, the metro Auckland district health boards and Auckland Regional Public Health Service to support the Marist College community.

The College has been professionally cleaned and discussions will continue this week between the School Board and education and health authorities to determine a date for re-opening. In the meantime, online learning continues for all students during Alert Level 3.

© Scoop Media

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