Covid-19: PM says KFC worker's family contacted 15 times via text and phone

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.

The Auckland woman believes she was unfairly singled out by the prime minister for not self-isolating, and that she was given official advice to the contrary.

Case L, who is a sibling of a Papatoetoe High School student who tested positive, went to work at KFC in Botany Downs on February 22 and 23, then tested positive three days later.

Case L is a sibling of one of the positive cases from Papatoetoe High School.
Abigail Dougherty/Stuff
Case L is a sibling of one of the positive cases from Papatoetoe High School.

She told Newshub on Monday that since then, she and her family have been unfairly harassed and ridiculed online – and comments from Ardern hadn't helped.

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When asked previously whether Case L should have been isolating, Ardern said: "Look, Yes, they should have."

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.”

Ardern said in a stand-up on Tuesday morning about 15 text messages and phone calls were sent to the family.

Emails were also sent from the school. 

Jacinda Ardern said Case L should have been isolating instead of going to her shift at KFC.
Ross Giblin/Stuff
Jacinda Ardern said Case L should have been isolating instead of going to her shift at KFC.

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

Ardern was asked if she understood why the family was upset. It was suggested that if she said she was disappointed in them, then the community turned on them.

"I've constantly said it serves no one to create an environment where people don't feel they can go and get a test, and I absolutely stand by that," she said.

She had reflected on the communications, she said, and in her mind the message around everyone from Papatoetoe High School getting a test felt very clear.

But she would look to see what more could have been done, Ardern said.

In an earlier interview with The Hui on Monday, Ardern said the Government had reviewed the information sent out and that Case L's household had been sent information about what to do.

She said most family members in the Auckland cluster were asked to be tested and remain in isolation until they received their results.

"They had two school members who were not meant to leave their home until they were tested," Ardern told The Hui.

"Unfortunately they did not, they got sick and symptomatic and whilst that happened their household continued with their day-to-day activities."

Newshub reported Case L wanted an apology because she never received the advice to isolate.

“We're being called stupid, saying that our family needs to be prosecuted, be put in jail ... and people saying they need a few slaps to the head,” she told Newshub.

Comment has been sought from the Ministry of Health.