13 Sep 2020

Health worker at quarantine facility one of two new cases of Covid-19

1:33 pm on 13 September 2020

There have been two new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, including a health worker who works at the Jet Park quarantine facility in Auckland.

Ministry of health

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

There was no media conference held today.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said one of the two new cases was a returnee to New Zealand in managed isolation and the second was the health worker.

They are employed to work solely at the Auckland quarantine facility and do not work at any other site.

The ministry said five household contacts of the health worker are in isolation at their home and are being tested today.

"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 no obvious links to other cases in the community have been established."

The case was found from routine weekly testing. They were tested last week and returned a negative test before this week's positive result.

The results of genomic testing are expected tomorrow.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb, head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine, said work was underway to review staffing logs, swipe card data and CCTV footage in order to map the person's movements within the facility over recent days.

"The Auckland Jet Park Hotel quarantine facility is a tightly controlled environment and as with all managed isolation and quarantine facilities, it operates with strict infection prevention control protocols at all times."

The ministry said this was the first time a staff member at Jet Park had tested positive since it had been designated a quarantine facility more than five months ago. The facility has managed 2532 individuals and their close contacts.

"Auckland Regional Public Health Service is working closely with the quarantine facility to help with double checking protocols and procedures for keeping safe both staff and people they're caring for.

"We know that staff working in the quarantine facility are at a higher risk of infection than the general population, which reinforces the importance of the protections already in place. "

Other facility staff who are 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 will be retested over the next 48 hours and a mobile testing unit will operate at the facility today to assist the usual testing service.

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

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

The number of active cases has dropped to 97, with 13 more recovered cases today. The total number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand is now 1446.

The country's laboratories processed 7211 tests yesterday.

There were two new cases reported yesterday and one new case on Friday. All three were associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship bereavement events group.

Today's numbers come on the eve of the latest government announcement on the country's alert levels.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended the current alert levels in New Zealand, and said Cabinet will review the situation again on 14 September.

If a change to alert levels is made tomorrow, it will take effect from 11.59pm on Wednesday 16 September, Ardern said.

The Auckland region is currently at alert level 2.5, which is due to expire this week. At present Aucklanders can travel outside the region, though social gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, with 50 allowed for authorised funerals and tangihanga. The rest of the country is at level 2.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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