Kiwis will soon find out if there are any more Covid-19 community cases on the day when the first vaccine jabs are rolled out.

The Ministry of Health will release the details in a media statement expected at 1pm.

Seven cases are so far connected to the mystery outbreak first uncovered on Valentine’s Day, when three people in a family tested positive – including the mother who works at LSG Sky Chefs and handles laundry for international airlines.

Health officials yesterday revealed a fourth family member had also tested positive.

One of the others to test positive is a student from Papatoetoe High School, who infected a classmate, who in turn passed on the virus to her brother and mother.

Genomic testing this week confirmed the two families are infected with an identical Covid-19 strain, confirming the chain of transmission.

The infection source for the first family is still a mystery.

A potential clue was uncovered earlier this week when officials found a “possible” similarity between case A’s sequence and that of someone who stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton MIQ facility in Auckland.

However, this theory is considered “very unlikely” by director general of health Ashley Bloomfield, who said the most likely scenario is the case was contracted at the border.

“The airport precinct seems the most likely route of infection – we just need to get to the bottom of how [the LSG worker] has been exposed.”

Because of this, he confirmed this week that officials are investigating if staff mingling at a canteen at Sky Chef could be linked to the initial outbreak.

That means, according to Bloomfield, 444 other people working around the area of Sky Chef are of interest to the Ministry of Health, including people working at the site, as well as contractors who bring laundry and food to and from the airport.

So far, there are 350 negative tests with 94 still to come.

Bloomfield will also front a press conference about today’s start of the vaccine rollout.

About 100 vaccinators, who themselves have received the jab, will start vaccinating border workers at the Jet Park quarantine facility before rolling out the vaccination programme across all MIQ facilities.

That is expected to take about two or three weeks.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two jabs about three weeks apart in order to be effective.

Vaccination of the general population is expected to start in the middle of the year.


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