Five returnees and five staff infected with Covid-19 in MIQ facilities since August

Source: 1News

Five returnees and five staff have been infected with Covid-19 in various managed isolation and quarantine facilities since August.

Jet Park Hotel, the Auckland quarantine facility

The Ministry of Health has previously reported all of the infections, which happened in seven separate incidents across Rydges Auckland, Pullman Auckland, the Sudima Christchurch Airport, Crowne Plaza Christchurch and the Jet Park Auckland quarantine facility. The cases were compiled today in a release sent to the media.  

More than 105,000 people have gone through New Zealand's MIQ facilities. 

Rydges Hotel worker 

The first reported case of Covid-19 transmission in an MIQ facility was on August 16 — a managed isolation worker at the Rydges Hotel in Auckland. The worker’s infection was linked to a returnee from the US. 

The investigation into the case was closed in September and concluded the virus was probably passed on through a surface in an elevator the worker used minutes after the returnee. 

Jet Park nurse

A nurse tested positive for Covid-19 on September 12 during weekly routine tests given to all staff at the facility. 

The infection prompted the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) at the time to call for a review into quarantine facilities

An investigation by the Counties Manukau District Health Board concluded the nurse was wearing PPE at the time she was caring for a person infected with Covid-19, and was likely exposed to the virus when the sick person’s mask was removed during a medical emergency. The investigation found the nurse didn’t breach PPE protocols. 

Christchurch returnee

On September 18, a returnee at Crowne Plaza Christchurch contracted Covid-19 at the facility. 

The person returned home to Auckland after testing negative twice while at the facility, then later returned a positive test. 

Genome sequencing found his infection was consistent with two cases on the same flight he was on from India. 

Christchurch healthcare workers at the Sudima Hotel

Two healthcare workers were reported as Covid-19 cases on October 23. 

A subsequent investigation into the case , released last month, found they contracted the virus from Russian and Ukrainian fishing crew who were at the hotel at the time. 

The report found it was “challenging” getting the crew to maintain physical distancing. 

Poor ventilation at the hotel was also cited in the report as a contributor to the infections.

Defence Force worker at Auckland’s Jet Park 

A New Zealand Defence Force worker working at the Auckland Jet Park quarantine facility when he contracted Covid-19. The case was reported on November 6. 

The worker, who became known as Case A, then passed the virus onto Case B, another Defence Force employee from Wellington during a meeting in Auckland. 

Case B then passed the virus onto a close contact during a lunchtime meeting in Wellington. 

An AUT student then contracted the virus in Auckland, and her infection was genomically linked to Case A. The student then passed the virus onto another person living in her apartment building. 

Another case, connected to Case B, was reported in late November. The person was already in a managed isolation facility when they returned a positive test.

Pullman Hotel cases

Three people who completed their managed isolation stay at the Auckland Pullman Hotel later tested positive for the South African variant of Covid-19 after exiting the facility at the end of last month. 

All of their close contacts subsequently tested negative for the virus. 

Health officials continue their investigations into the incident, but said it was likely the infection happened in the hotel. 

A separate case of transmission within the Pullman Hotel was detected last Tuesday. This person contracted the UK variant of Covid-19 from someone on an Australian flight.