Auckland community case update

Auckland Regional Public Health Service has this afternoon conducted a detailed interview with the case announced today at 1pm in the community in Auckland.

We now know that this person’s role at A-Z Collection is in a customer facing role, as a shop assistant.

This person became symptomatic on 9 November, was tested on 10 November, was asked to isolate, then went to work on 11 November.

We now know that this case called in sick to work after receiving the advice to isolate, but after a conversation with their manager went to work and wore a mask.

A-Z Collection is closed today and is undergoing a deep clean.

Whole genome sequencing will also allow us to compare the genome of this case to that of other recent cases we have sequenced to help us determine the source of this latest infection.

The swab from this case has been received by ESR and will be processed overnight for whole genome sequencing. We have successfully sequenced 1,084 genomes to date, which includes 169 from MIQ facilities.

We are aware of media reports around a fire alarm at the managed isolation facility at the Grand Millennium that saw returnees on the street near today’s case’s accommodation.

The fire alarm was 8pm on Monday 9 November. This is not likely to be a source of infection for this case because she was already symptomatic earlier that day.

In terms of contacts of today’s case, we have identified 3 close contacts, and they are all being followed up, isolated, and tested.

Close contacts include a colleague of the case, and two friends. They all report being well. The two friends are being transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility as a precaution. One of the friends lives alone in the Vincent Residences, the same as the case.

All residents of the Vincent Residences have been asked to go home and stay home while testing takes place. Health authorities are working closely with the body corporate, and a cleaning company is going in today to do a deep clean of the common areas of the apartment building – including stairwells, lifts, and the lobby.

All common areas in the apartment building will be closed. A mobile testing station will be on site tonight for residents of Vincent Residences.

Today’s case also took a number of Ubers to work. The drivers are being contacted by ARPHS. The Uber trips were very short but because they were are in close confinement, we are asking them to get a test and isolate.

Following interviews with today’s case, we are in the process of confirming a number of locations of interest that the person visited while possibly infectious.

These include:

Saturday, 7 November3:50pm – 6pmSmith and Caughey’s Department Store, Queen St
6pm – 8:30pmRed Pig Restaurant, Kitchener Street
Sunday, 8 November11:30am – 11:45amTakeaways from Starbucks Queen St and from Sunnytown Restaurant, Lorne St
6:40pm – 6:50pmTakeaways from The Gateau House, 332 Queen St
Monday, 9 November11:31am – 11:40amTakeaways from Starbucks Queen St and from Sunnytown Restaurant, Lorne St

Anyone who was dining at the Red Pig Restaurant on Saturday night will need to be tested and to go into self-isolation until they receive a negative test result.

Anyone at Smith and Caughey’s, Starbucks, Sunnytown and The Gateau House at these times should watch for symptoms and get tested if they feel unwell, staying in self-isolation until they receive a negative test.

This afternoon around 2pm we have issued push notifications through NZ COVID Tracer for A-Z Collection and the Vincent Residences.

NZ COVID Tracer app users who scanned into either location during the relevant timeframes will receive a contact alert advising them to isolate and call Healthline to arrange a test.

It is too early to report the number of app users who will have received contact alerts, as the console we use for app analytics is not configured for real-time reporting.

Anyone who was at these places around these times should isolate, get tested, and stay isolated until they receive a negative result.

Pop-up testing is available today in Auckland, including at the Ellen Melville Centre on Freyberg Place, and a testing site at Victoria Park Community Testing Centre. There is also pop-up testing available tomorrow at Quay Park Health Centre at 68 Beach Road, and at the Wynyard Quarter Carpark Community Testing Centre on Madden Street.

A full list of testing sites in Auckland is available on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.

Anyone in the Auckland area, indeed throughout New Zealand, who has cold or flu symptoms should get a test and stay at home until you have a negative test result.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking people who work in downtown Auckland to work from home tomorrow where possible. If you must go into this area, please use masks and social distancing while health authorities continue work to trace the source of this infection.

/Public Release. View in full here.