While Case L waits for an apology, the govt announces support for women’s rugby and an extension of wage subsidies

Our Beehive Bulletin

The news we expected to find – no, the news we thought we might find – was not there when we checked the Beehive website this morning.

It was an acknowledgement from our kindly PM that maybe she had been a tad unkindly when she failed to hide her frustration about the Covid-19 community case who had gone to work at KFC Botany instead of isolating at home.

What we did find was news that –

  • The Government remains committed to hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2022 should a decision be made by World Rugby this weekend to postpone this year’s tournament.
  • The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend.  This extends the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Here at Point of Order, we were mindful of a Stuff report which suggested the PM was peeved with an Auckland woman.  The headline read – Covid-19: PM says KFC worker’s family contacted 15 times via text and phone 

The Auckland woman perhaps has cause to be peeved, too, because she  reckons she was unfairly singled out by Jacinda Ardern for not self-isolating.

Known as Case L, she is a sibling of a Papatoetoe High School student who has tested positive.

She said she had sought official advice and had gone to work at KFC in Botany Downs on February 22 and 23.

Alas, she tested positive three days later.

According to Stuff, she told Newshub on Monday she and her family have been unfairly harassed and ridiculed online – and comments from the frustrated Ardern hadn’t helped.

 Case L told Newshub that the family did not get any information telling them to isolate. She also said her sister, Case I, received a text on February 14 that read: “…casual contacts to isolate and test – their families don’t need to.”

But hey – we can depend on the PM knowing what’s what, can’t we?

Sure we can and  (as the Stuff  report recorded) …

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has denied claims by the woman who went to work at KFC while infected with Covid-19 that she was not told to self-isolate.

Ardern said about 15 text messages and phone calls were sent to the family.

Emails were also sent from the school.

“I cannot answer whether or not those were received, but certainly you can see attempts were made,” she said.

Today we learn …

The Government’s own Unite against Covid-19 page appears to contradict the prime minister’s claims a worker at KFC Botany broke the rules when she was required to isolate.

According to Stuff, when the subject was raised on the Unite against Covid-19 Facebook page on February 26, a response in the comments section from the Covid-19 team said Case L was not required to isolate at the time.

This was because there was no advice at that stage for household members of casual plus contacts at the school to self-isolate or get a test.

“The family complied with the advice they were given at the time,” the post read.

The post explained the advice changed on February 23, when the Ministry of Health advised everyone in a Papatoetoe High School household must stay away from work or any other school, educational facility or community facility.  By that time, Case L had already completed her shifts at KFC along with another sibling, Case J, who works at Kmart Botany.

A letter from Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) sent to the school community, dated February 17, said those who were not deemed close contacts, and their households, were “encouraged” to stay home until Monday, February 22 and get a test.

Point of Order by now had become somewhat confused by the alphabet soup that had been created by media coverage and the bureaucrats.  We had Cases L, I and J and their relationships to clarify.

This Newshub report hopefully does the trick:

Case L is a household contact of Case I, a Papatoetoe High School student and a casual-plus contact of the first student to test positive, Case A. Case I was the first in the family to contract the virus, testing positive on February 23.

Case L is also a household contact of Case J, the teenager who worked two shifts at Kmart Botany before her diagnosis, and Case K, an infant. 

Case L tested positive for the virus on February 26 after being shifted to quarantine with her family. It was revealed she had worked a shift at KFC on February 22 while she was potentially infectious.

As Case I is a casual-plus contact of the initial Papatoetoe High School case and a member of the school community, health officials have claimed the whole household should have been isolating – indicating Case J and Case L breached the rules by going to work. 

At a news briefing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Case L “should have” isolated instead of working her shift at KFC, expressing “frustration” at the new case.

Both Case J and Case L have since faced public backlash for appearing to flout the official instructions and putting the safety of the public at risk. 

But the KFC employee said to Newshub that she was not told to self-isolate – and asked for an apology from the Prime Minister following her “upsetting” comments. 

“It’s not fair on our end that we’re getting all this backlash for something that we haven’t actually done,” Case L told Newshub.

Case L told Newshub her sister, Case I, received a text message on February 14 – the day the first three cases in the cluster were announced – saying casual contacts needed to self-isolate, but their families did not need to. 

Health officials pushed back against the claims, arguing there were multiple attempts to contact the family and the advice had been clear and consistent. 

But a comment, posted by the Unite against COVID-19 Facebook page four days ago, clearly states that “Case J (Kmart worker) and Case L (KFC worker) were not required to isolate at the time”.

Is that clear?

If so, you can see why ACT leader David Seymour reckons the PM has some serious explaining to do.

But the PM on Monday refused to apologise while insisting a request was included for household members to get tested and keep an eye out on any symptoms.

Here at Point of Order we are putting our money on no apology being forthcoming.

Latest from the Beehive

3 MARCH 2021

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