Quarantine health worker tests positive

By Te Ao - Māori News

There are two new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, the Ministry of Health said in a written update Sunday afternoon.

Managed isolation case

The first new case is a returnee to New Zealand in managed isolation and the second case is a health worker who works at Auckland’s quarantine facility.

The returnee in managed isolation arrived from South Africa on 8 September and remains in quarantine in Canterbury.

Health Worker

The other new case is a health worker who works at Auckland’s quarantine facility Jet Park managing people in quarantine after they test positive for Covid-19.  

Five household contacts of the health worker are in isolation at their home and are being tested Sunday.

This case is still being investigated to determine if the infection came from the community or from within the quarantine facility, though at this stage the ministry says no obvious links to other cases in the community have been established.

The ministry says thorough tracing of which people in quarantine the health worker had contact with is being undertaken, as is genome testing to see what strain of the virus the health worker has to help identify the source.

Staff at the facility regarded as close contacts have been stood down and a deep clean of staff areas at the facility has been completed.  All staff at the quarantine facility are being retested over the next 48 hours.  That process began Saturday night with 48 staff tested and more are being tested Sunday.  

The health worker was tested last week and returned a negative test so has picked up the virus in between the weekly tests which are done as part of the regular testing of people working in the quarantine facility, the ministry says.

The results of genomic testing are expected Monday and will help to inform the investigation.

The ministry says this is the first time a staff member at Jet Park has tested positive for Covid-19 in five-and-a-half months of operation.  In that time the facility has managed 2532 individuals and their close contacts who have been transferred from the border, other managed isolation facilities and the community.

Cluster Update

Public health services continue to investigate the current Auckland cluster.  

There are 33 cases in the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group and 15 cases in the bereavement events group, which includes the cases whose source of infection was the bereavement events.

The ministry says both groups are working closely with public health staff to manage the outbreak and prevent any further spread.  Leaders of the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship have actively encouraged all members of the congregation to get retested for Covid-19 and comply with other public health advice such as self-isolation.

As reported Saturday, 98 per cent of the congregation have now been tested.  Similarly, 98 per cent of those attending the bereavement events have now also been tested.

There are 63 people linked to the community cluster who remain in the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 38 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and their household contacts.  

Active Cases

There are three people in hospital with Covid-19 – one is in isolation on a ward in Auckland City Hospital. Two are in ICU, at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.

With Sunday’s two new cases and 13 additional recovered cases, the total number of active cases is 97. Of those, 39 are imported cases in MIQ facilities and 58 are community cases.