Covid 19 coronavirus: What we know of the latest cases before the long weekend

A pub has closed for two weeks, a gym has shut its doors and schools are alerting parents to links to our latest Covid-19 cases. Luke Kirkness traces the spread of the virus from a port worker in Taranaki to Auckland’s North Shore.

A marine engineer believed to have caught Covid-19 while visiting a ship is believed to have passed on the virus to at least two other people.

The two others are thought to be colleagues of the engineer and between them, they visited a pub, a gym and a marine supply store before testing positive on Auckland’s North Shore.

It comes as holidaymakers prepare to leave the City of Sails for the long weekend and many start to question whether this is the start of a new cluster which could force the city back into lockdown.

Wearing a mask and gloves, the 27-year-old engineer worked in the Sofranna Surville at the Ports of Auckland on Tuesday, October 13.

The vessel had sailed from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, to Brisbane, to Tauranga and then to Auckland.

It comes as patrons who visited The Malt pub in Greenhithe last Friday night are being urged to self-isolate and get a swap.

A man attended the establishment between 7.30pm and 10pm before becoming sick and testing positive for Covid-19.

A North Shore gym has been forced to close for the next five days for deep cleaning after one of the cases visited the facility.

Snap Fitness in Browns Bay was closed on Thursday, telling members the positive case visited the gym between 9am and 12.30pm last Saturday.

The visit has been deemed as low risk and the Ministry of Health was chasing up close contacts of the person from their gym session.

Meanwhile, Auckland Regional Public Health Service confirmed that the man, who visited The Malt pub on Friday evening without knowing he was infectious, also visited the Burnsco Gulf Harbour store twice on Sunday. Staff and fellow shoppers are not considered to be close contacts.

No need to change the alert levels … yet

The Ministry of Health isn’t recommending a change to the alert level at this stage.

However, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the Government was interested in whether there were any indications they should do so.

Bloomfield did warn people will need to remain diligent, especially at hospitality venues.

That means things like always washing hands, using good cough and sneeze etiquette and staying away from gatherings or going on holiday if you are unwell.

He also encouraged people to continue using masks on public transport saying they shouldn’t be embarrassed.

It was also important people keep using the Covid Tracer app, Bloomfield said.

The Malt

Kevin McVicar, who owns The Malt, says there were around 60 to 80 patrons at the pub on Friday.

He says he has not been told anything by the ministry about the infected person.

The Herald understands the patron also visited Burnsco Gulf Harbour on Sunday – but staff and fellow shoppers of the marine supply store are not considered to be close contacts.

McVicar has been forced to close the doors for 14 days after an infected patron spent more than three hours there on a crowded evening.

Staff who test negative can return to work — but McVicar said eight of his 16 staff were working that night and they had to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of their test results.

About 200 Greenhithe residents had been tested for Covid-19 at a pop-up station in the North Shore suburb by early afternoon yesterday.

Gym to close

A North Shore gym has been closed for the next five days for deep cleaning after a person who later tested positive for Covid-19 visited the facility.

Snap Fitness in Browns Bay was closed on Thursday, telling members the positive case visited the gym between 9am and 12.30pm last Saturday.

The visit has been deemed as low risk and the ministry was chasing up close contacts of the person from their gym session.

Marine supply store

A man who visited The Malt also visited the Burnsco Gulf Harbour store twice on Sunday: Around 10.30am and then around 3.30pm, a company spokeswoman said.

“We were advised that the person had no symptoms at the time, their visits were brief and there was no interaction with any other customers and their interactions with the staff were very limited,” she said.

“No person who was in the store at the time or has visited since is considered at risk nor deemed to be a close contact.”

Massey Primary School

An Auckland primary school teacher is waiting on her Covid-19 test results after finding she had a family connection to the man.

Massey Primary School principal Bruce Barnes says the relief teacher was teaching middle school students yesterday when she was told she had been exposed to the virus.

“She was not symptomatic at all, she said it was only brief contact she would have had with him,” he said.

The teacher immediately left the school and sought a swab test, Barnes said.

Rangitoto College

It also emerged today a student from New Zealand’s biggest school, Rangitoto College, is in isolation after a person in their household tested positive for Covid-19.

The risk to the college community is low as the student tested negative and was only at school briefly, Bloomfield said.

He urged anyone contacted by contact tracers to act quickly and continue monitoring their health over the coming weeks for any symptoms.

Anyone who is considered a close contact is required to self-isolate for the full 14 days.

“This virus does not take breaks.”

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has written to parents of the college.

“This student is not considered a close contact, however, as they have had minimal exposure to the person while this person was infectious. The student is well and has had a negative test result. They have only been at school for a very short time since their household member became sick.”

Managed isolation cases

Bloomfield reported two new cases of Covid-19 were in managed isolation yesterday.

The first arrived on October 19 from the Netherlands via Dubai.

The second case arrived from Doha on October 22. They developed symptoms during the flight and were tested on arrival.

A further two new cases were reported in Australia on a ship believed to be the likely source of infection for an infected New Zealand port worker.

The ship has been docked off the Sunshine Coast since Thursday.

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