20 Oct 2021

Employer says man with Covid-19 on Waiheke can't be trusted, breached health orders

From Checkpoint, 5:20 pm on 20 October 2021

An Auckland employer is disputing the Ministry of Health's claim that a Covid-19 positive case on Waiheke Island is an essential worker.

Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Island (file image). Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Persen

The case is the first on Waiheke, which is supposed to be shut off from the rest of Auckland due to the limited medical resources on the Island.

Today RNZ spoke to his employer, who said the man was last at work on a construction site a week ago and complained of feeling sick.

He was not there on Thursday and Friday and told his boss on Monday that he was Covid-positive.

Colleagues have since been tested and are isolating but there have been no more positive cases.

The man is understood to have travelled to Waiheke on Sunday, travelling via car ferry where he did not leave his vehicle.

There are no locations of interest on Waiheke and today the Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said public health teams had spoken to the man and assessed him as being low risk.

Dr Bloomfield said the case was "watertight" and was isolating safely on a property without contact with others.

He also said he was an essential worker, but his employer rejected that.

The employer told RNZ the man could not be trusted to self isolate for the next two weeks as he had already flouted health rules by travelling to Waiheke despite not being a resident, and while either Covid-postive or awaiting test results.

The employer also claimed the worker had travelled across the Waikato border earlier in the lockdown, despite not having an essential reason to do so.

The Ministry for Health said the case was a close contact of an existing case in Auckland and was part of the home isolation interim model.  
It said there were now 101 covid cases across 55 households in the wider Auckland community, isolating at home.