Hundreds of students are isolating in their rooms at a University of Auckland hall after a resident tested positive on Friday.
“We’re not allowed to leave other than to go to the bathroom,” said a student who did not wish to be named.
“Most people are doing okay for now but that’s just because it’s day one,” he said, expressing concern about his and fellow residents’ mental health.
The university has confirmed that the 460 residents currently at Waipārūrū Hall in central Auckland went into lockdown with the rest of the country on Tuesday night.
On Friday night, residents were asked to keep to their rooms “until further notice” and wear a mask if they needed to leave their rooms to use the bathroom.
The university is working with health authorities to set up a pop-up testing site for Waipārūrū residents, and has released a list of provisional locations attended by the student while infectious.
They include a ball attended by some 500 people at the Aotea Centre on Saturday, August 14.
Contact tracing is underway and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service is preparing letters to be sent directly to anyone identified as a “close contact” once the locations of interest are confirmed, according to a statement from the university.
Students are asked to contact Healthline if they feel unwell and to inform university accommodation staff.
A team of university staff are now performing regular welfare phone checks on students in the hall, says University of Auckland spokeswoman Lisa Finucane.
She says there are at most 28 students on each floor at present, and each floor makes up a bubble.
Waipārūrū Hall was designed with one bathroom per four residents, and additional cleaning is underway.
“There’s plenty of bathrooms to go around,” she said.
Food and bottled water is delivered to their doors, and residents can fill their water bottles from the bathroom and kitchenette sinks.
Finucane also says the bedrooms are supplied with 100 per cent fresh air.
“There is no air recirculating back to rooms from [other] rooms.”
The student resident who spoke to the Herald is concerned about prolonged lockdown in the hall, where the smallest rooms are about 10sq m.
“Lengthwise my room is probably about five, six steps?” he said.
The mother of another student resident told the Herald her son and others in his block did not get access to drinking water at first, but it was early stages when the university was “organising themselves”.
“They’re doing all right. They’re just hungry because they’re 20-year-old boys.”
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