The latest community cases of Covid-19 are just "bad luck" but a reminder for Kiwis to think about playing their part to help New Zealand, says epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker.
About 700 Papatoetoe High School students were today waiting for test results and the remainder were expected to be lining up for their second test after news another student has tested positive, along with two of her family members.
One of her older siblings, a recent school-leaver, worked at Kmart Botany on Friday, which is now a location of interest and closed today. Thirty-one staff are considered close contacts and have been told to isolate and get tested.
School principal Vaughan Couillault told the AM Show today there were myriad reasons students may not have got a test, but some were opting not to get tested and were exercising their "conscious choice".
Given the latest case he now urged the remaining 10 to get tested and said the school couldn't afford to close for another two weeks.
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said the latest cases were simply "bad luck".
"It's making life more difficult, that one of the very few families that didn't come forward for testing.
"You're getting down to really the 1 or 2 per cent of people who were not as compliant as you would hope and that is just bad luck, that small percentage included one of the few who were infected and there weren't many at the school infected at all."
Baker agreed that everybody had a choice to get tests or self-isolate, "but I do think this is part of the social responsibility that many New Zealanders, obviously the entire country, has had to compromise on their personal liberties as part of our collective response and I think we all have to think hard about that".
"It's the same with the choice to have the vaccine but I'm sure that's a bigger issue than just having a swab taken."
Baker said despite the outbreak, it showed the country's contact tracing system was "high performing".
"It also shows the real challenge of contact tracing in a school environment where you've got more than 1000 students and teachers.
"People have so many intermittent contacts during the course of a few days where they might be in different classes, different social groups, they might share transport, so it does show that this is a very challenging contact tracing system."
He still believed the outbreak "would be manageable" but increased the effects on everyone.
"And it will stretch out and then of course it does start to raise the question of whether Auckland does need additional help in dampening down this transmission so that's going to be a factor."
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield today issued a fresh alert about irregular symptoms linked to the new UK Covid variant.
He told TVNZ two of the cases, including one of the cases from last week, reported muscle aches and lethargy, with none of the usual respiratory symptoms usually linked to Covid infections, like coughing and sore throat.
He said people should not be quick to dismiss their pain, saying it could point to Covid.
Baker said he was reluctant to make any conclusions based on a few cases but it was a good reminder for people to remember that symptoms were broad and younger people often had fewer symptoms than older people.
Baker said the country should have more varied alert levels to allow it to tip-toe out of an outbreak as opposed to leaping.
He pushed for the addition of a 1.5 and 2.5 to help ease the affected city, or the country as a whole, back to normality.
Meanwhile, Papatoetoe High School was this morning experiencing a drop in students getting tested and was now urging students to get in as soon as possible as wait times were "very short".
"All members of student and staff households are to self-isolate until the student or staff member has received a negative test result," the school wrote on its Facebook page.