Covid-19: NZ tells Auckland workers in downtown to work from home


By RNZ News

A New Zealand covid-19 community case identified in Auckland today had called in sick to work after being tested but went to work wearing a mask after talking to their boss, officials say.

All people who work in downtown Auckland are being asked to work from home where possible tomorrow because of the new case.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said there had still been no direct source of infection identified. Any changes to alert levels will be announced tomorrow, he said.

The next update on the case and any decisions will be tomorrow afternoon.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) had interviewed the person.

The student in her 20s was one of three cases announced at the afternoon media briefing today.

McElnay said the woman’s job was a customer-facing role. She called in sick to work after being tested but went to work after talking to her boss, although she wore a mask.

Uber trips to work
The person took Uber trips to work and those drivers are being contacted and advised to be tested.

Hipkins said it was a disappointing situation. He is asking employers to be “good” and accommodate staff calling in sick by allowing them to stay at home.

The person has three close contacts – a colleague and two friends – who are being tested and isolated, McElnay said.

All reported being well, but the two friends had been asked to isolate as a precaution.

There was no history of the positive case moving outside the Auckland CBD, she said.

Her apartment building is next door to a managed isolation facility.

The hotel had a fire alarm evacuation on Monday night, but that was not likely to be the source of the infection because the woman became symptomatic that same day.

Residents told go home
All residents of the Vincent Residences have been asked to go home and stay home while testing takes place. The apartment building is being deep cleaned and a mobile testing station would be available outside, Dr McElnay said.

ARPHS is informing the residents at the positive case’s apartment building of the information they need to know.

Dr McElnay said the person was already symptomatic, so reports of mingling between guests and the public are unlikely to point to a source of infection.

Hipkins said the case’s workplace numbers were quite small, but the apartment complex was quite large.

Testing at the site was “about to get under way”, he said, and suggestions of the source of the infection at this point were speculation.

This afternoon, the Covid Tracer app was used to send notifications to users who may have been at the same places as the positive case. The number of people who received the notifications is not yet known.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

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