Covid-19 Defence Force staff at centre of outbreak
Two Defence Force staff are at the centre of latest community outbreak of Covid-19 in New Zealand, with one travelling from Auckland to Wellington after getting infected.
The Ministry of Health have begun contact tracing locations of interest in what they are calling the ‘November quarantine cluster’.
“A number of push notifications will be sent to people who logged on with the COVID Tracer app as a new case was announced today,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.
There was one new case of community transmission reported today - a close contact of the Auckland quarantine worker first reported by the Ministry on Friday.
There were also five new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation in New Zealand today.
It has been confirmed today that the two community cases revealed in the past few days are Defence Force staff, one civilian and one military, and that Defence House, where 1300 personnel work, has been closed for a deep clean.
Vice Chief of Defence Force Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Tony Davies said the first positive case - announced by the Health Ministry (MoH) on Friday - is a serviceperson who has been working in the quarantine facility in Auckland.
"The second case is a civilian employee who met that serviceperson in Auckland on Wednesday, before the serviceperson tested positive. MoH's contact tracing process identified the civilian as a close contact of the serviceperson, and they subsequently tested positive.
"The civilian is based in NZDF headquarters Defence House in Wellington and travelled from Auckland to Wellington on flight NZ457 on Thursday evening. They sat in row 23, and all passengers sitting two seats in all directions are being contacted, asked to get tested and to self-isolate until 19 November. Their households have also been advised to self-isolate until the passengers receive a negative test."
AVM Davies said Defence House, where about 1300 personnel work, had been closed for a deep clean.
"All staff would be working from home until further notice. Other organisations based in Defence House were being advised and their staff would also be working from home."
In a statement, the Health Ministry said other attendees at the Auckland meeting where the two cases met have been identified are isolating.
The Ministry said anyone else who was on the flight and is concerned about their health can call Healthline.
The Ministry have been contact tracing, and using the push notification to alert people who logged on with the COVID Tracer app.
“The alerts were sent to people that logged in at several locations of interest in Wellington and Auckland.”
The new case, a contact of a quarantine worker in Auckland, visited the following locations:
- Domestic Terminal, Auckland Airport: 5.30 – 7.45pm, 5 Nov
- Avis Car Rental, Auckland Airport: 5.00 – 5.15pm, 5 Nov
- Orleans Chicken & Waffles, Auckland Airport: 5.30 – 7pm, 5 Nov
- The Gypsy Moth, Auckland Airport: 7.00 – 7.15pm, 5 Nov
- Hudsons, Auckland Airport: 7.00 – 7.15pm, 5 Nov
- Little Penang, The Terrace, Wellington: 1.15 – 3.45pm, 6 Nov.
The alert has advised users that they may have been in contact with COVID-19. Further information is available at COVID-19: Contact tracing locations of interest.
For contact tracing purposes, anyone who attended one of the locations listed above during the relevant timeframes is considered to be a COVID-19 ‘casual contact’ with a low risk of exposure.
If you were at one of these locations during the relevant timeframe, please take the following steps over the next 14 days:
- immediately contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you feel unwell or start to develop COVID-19 symptoms
- stay at home if you are unwell
- ensure you wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or with hand sanitiser.
“Please note you are not required to start self-isolating unless you feel unwell or start to develop COVID-19 symptoms,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.
“If you begin to feel unwell, or for more information, please contact Healthline 0800 358 5453.”
For contact tracing purposes, anyone who attended one of the locations listed during the relevant timeframes is considered to be a COVID-19 ‘casual contact’ with a low risk of exposure. Close contacts have been contacted directly.
“This case once again reinforces the importance of everyone who is able to using the app to keep a record of where they have been - it allows our contact tracing team to quickly notify you if you may have been exposed to this virus, and allows you to take immediate action to protect yourself, your whanau, and your community.”