23 Oct 2020

Gym boss expected more help over handling Covid positive case

7:51 pm on 23 October 2020

A gym manager expected more direction from health officials about a man who attended a boot camp while infectious with Covid-19.

Snap Fitness closed for Covid deep cleaning - Browns Bay gym on Auckland's North Shore

Snap Fitness gym in the Auckland suburb of Browns Bay. Photo: Supplied

Snap Fitness gym in the Auckland suburb of Browns Bay has been closed for cleaning after a positive case was there on Saturday.

About 10 people who attended the outdoor class run by the gym are considered close contacts of the port worker who later tested positive for Covid-19.

Health officials said there is no change to alert levels, but the bootcamp held on Saturday was linked to what they are calling the marine employee cluster.

Gym general manager Brendan Hurrell said he was told on Wednesday about the possible positive case and it was confirmed the following day.

About 10 people who were at the outdoor boot camp are considered close contacts of the man.

After the camp the man also used the gym, and those who were inside are considered casual contacts, Hurrell said.

He told Midday Report it had been a busy couple of days.

"There was a little bit of concern just in terms that information was hard to get. Obviously I've never dealt with it before and I was hoping I'd get more direction," Hurrell said.

"However, the ladies I was dealing with were amazing and you could see that they were rushing around as well and I felt like they've probably got a lot on their hands right now."

They decided to close as a precaution in part because the gym has a lot of elderly members.

He said they have deep cleaned the gym twice and it was due to be disinfected with fog today.

No caption

A timeline of the first cases from the marine employee group, who have been linked to the Sofrana Surville ship now anchored off Queensland. The man whose case was confirmed on Sunday 18 went to the gym bootcamp. A further household contact of one of these three cases has also been confirmed today to have the virus. Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

They are waiting to hear from officials on tracing and are considering re-opening tomorrow, Hurrell said.

Browns Bay Business Association chair Malcolm McDonald said news of a positive case nearby has rocked local businesses ahead of a long weekend.

His ice cream parlour and cafe was doing a steady trade today with some children off school for teacher-only days, and he said local businesses needed a summer boost, not a Covid scare.

"We've got so many empty shops in Browns Bay right now and a number are right on the edge so it's worrying for all of us we need to get our shops full not empty them out so this is close to home," McDonald said.

"We're looking at putting masks back on again, we've just taken them off this week. We've relaxed and started to enjoy level one but we may go back to wearing masks again this weekend."

Browns Bay businesses are displaying the contact tracing app but there were few masks being worn on the main street today.

Another local, Susanne Brown, said she is carrying on with the same precautions, using hand sanitiser and contact tracing.

"We all just have to be more careful and I'm not surprised that it's spread. This thing is now to find out how quickly it's spread and how far."

Her sons attend Rangitoto College, and she was among parents warned that a student who has a family member sick with Covid-19 was briefly at the school.

The student tested negative and health officials said there was a very low risk to the community.

"The school's quite positive and so are the boys. They know that this is now part of life."

Heading into a long weekend, officials are urging people to use the app so they can be easily contacted if needed. Health Minister Chris Hipkins said this message would be repeated in a Labour weekend campaign.

"We need to stay vigilant, we need to keep using the Covid tracer app. We have made it compulsory for businesses to display the QR codes prominently so it's as easy as possible for people to use it."

Out to the west of the North Shore, The Malt pub in Greenhithe remains closed after an unknowingly infectious person visited last Friday for about two and a half hours.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said few pub-goers checked in using the government app on Friday night. All workers at the pub have now tested negative, but it is unclear how many patrons were there.

Bar owner Kevin McVicar said some staff were considered close contacts, and others casual.

Ahead of the long weekend, health officials are asking people to stay home if they feel unwell and get tested - there will be seven community testing centres in Auckland.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said the bootcamp group was physically distanced from others at the beach last weekend and anyone on the beach at the time are considered to be at no greater risk than anyone else in the wider Auckland community.

A spokesperson said all 10 who attended the bootcamp have been asked to get tested and isolate for 14 days.

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