A Covid-infected quarantine worker in Auckland is thought to have infected another person who then travelled to Wellington, but the Health Ministry is currently advising no change to alert levels.
Both are Defence Force employees, and one of them flew from Auckland to Wellington on Thursday on flight NZ 457, sitting in row 23.
Officials are now asking all people sitting within two rows of the worker to get tested and to isolate until November 19. All of their household contacts are also being asked to isolate until the contact on the flight tests negative.
The worker (Case B) on the flight had a meeting in Auckland on Wednesday with a Defence Force worker (Case A) based at the Jet Park quarantine facility who tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.
“Attendees at this meeting have been identified and are isolating,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement today.
“Case B flew from Auckland to Wellington on Thursday evening (November 5) on Air New Zealand flight NZ 457 and sat in row 23,” the ministry said.
Besides those sitting within two rows of the person, the ministry said anyone on the flight concerned about their health should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
Vice Chief of Defence Force Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies said Case B was a civilian employee based in NZDF headquarters in Wellington.
They are now in a quarantine facility in Wellington. Five household contacts are being tested and are in self-isolation.
Defence House, where about 1300 personnel work, has been closed for a deep clean and all staff will be working from home until further notice.
Davis said other organisations based in Defence House are being advised and their staff will also be working from home.
He said contact tracing was being undertaken and any close contacts of the affected person had already been identified and notified.
“We take the health and safety of our military personnel and civilian employees very seriously, and we will be doing everything we can to keep people informed and manage the situation.”
The genomic sequencing for Case A shows a link to positive cases in the Jet Park facility quarantine, and officials are looking into how they became infected.
Case B developed mild symptoms late on Friday evening, and officials are piecing together their movements while they were potentially infectious.
“Relevant locations of interest, including any businesses, will be contacted and publicly advised as they become available,” the ministry said.
“Close contacts will be contacted directly.”
The ministry was not advising any change in alert levels at this stage.
“At this point, there is nothing to suggest there is any wider risk in the Auckland or Wellington regions. If anyone is concerned about their health, or wants more information about testing, they can call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.”
The ministry is still looking into how two health workers at the Sudima facility in Christchurch became infected. They were both interacting with infected mariners, though the genome sequencing suggests they have different strains to each other.
Case B is one of six new cases reported today.
Five cases were in managed isolation and they are now all at the Auckland quarantine facility:
• One case who arrived from Italy via Hawaii on 3 November and who tested positive at around day 3 routine testing.
• Two cases who arrived from the United Arab Emirates on 3 November and who tested positive at around day 3 routine testing. Please note these people did not travel together.
• One case who arrived from Romania via Doha and Australia on 3 November and tested positive at around day 3 routine testing.
• One case who arrived from Germany via the United Arab Emirates on 5 November and was taken directly to the quarantine facility after appearing symptomatic.
The total number of active cases is 48, while yesterday there were 4116 tests conducted.
Testing is available for the public in Auckland at community testing centres and urgent care clinics across the city. Details on where to get tested are available on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.
In the capital, testing is available at the following CBACs, 196 Taranaki Street, Wellington Central; 178 Bedford Street, Cannons Creek Porirua; and the Lower Hutt Central CBAC.
Appointments for testing can also be made at Team Medical, 1 Coastlands Parade, Paraparaumu. Hours have been extended for this afternoon at the Porirua site.
“Please contact Healthline for any information and advice around the Wellington sites. They will direct you to the correct phone number to book a test,” the ministry said.
As of yesterday, there was no community spread from the Auckland Jet Park worker, but 25 of the person’s colleagues had been put into isolation.
Of the 25, six had returned negative tests while other results were pending.
It is at least the seventh time in just over three months that the virus has been contracted in a managed isolation or quarantine (MIQ) facility into the community.
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