Auckland businesses scramble after links to new infections

A person is tested at a pop-up testing centre in Greenhithe in Auckland. Photo: NZ Herald
A person is tested at a pop-up testing centre in Greenhithe in Auckland. Photo: NZ Herald
Auckland's new community cluster has businesses scrambling as they discover links to our latest Covid-19 cases. Here's how the virus has hit Auckland's workplaces. Luke Kirkness reports.

The marine employee cluster has increased to include three other positive cases and has businesses throughout Auckland scrambling after being alerted to links to new infections.

A marine engineer is thought to have caught Covid-19 while working on a foreign vessel before passing it on to two colleagues.

There were nine new cases of the virus in New Zealand yesterday, one a household contact connected to the cluster.

As more connections get announced each day, more businesses are discovering people who later went on to test positive visited them.

A pub and a gym have been forced to close, and a superyacht company and a marine supply store have been thoroughly cleaned.

The Malt pub in Greenhithe has been forced to close for two weeks. Photo: NZ Herald
The Malt pub in Greenhithe has been forced to close for two weeks. Photo: NZ Herald
Pub staff test negative

All the staff from The Malt who were deemed close contacts to a positive case have negative tests results, including to owner Kevin McVicar.

The Greenhithe pub has been forced to close for two weeks after health authorities alerted it to a visit by the case.

In a Facebook post, McVicar says staff still need a second test but so far, no one has tested positive for the virus.

Superyacht company deep cleaned

Henderson superyacht company Sensation Yachts has closed for deep cleaning after a man who tested positive for Covid visited the premises last week.

The business' project manager was contacted by health officials on Wednesday night and told a supplier who visited the premises had since tested positive.

Sensation Yachts' Australian-based owner Robert McVicker says the supplier visited The Concourse in Henderson last Friday.

McVicker confirmed the supplier, who spoke to the project manager about installing electronics on a vessel, was from Albany-based Wright Technologies.

The project manager, the only one to come into close contact with the supplier, was told he needed to self-isolate and get a test - which came back negative.

Browns Bay gym closed

Snap Fitness in Browns Bay has been forced to close for deep cleaning after someone who later went on to test positive for Covid-19 attended a boot camp.

The gym's general manager Brendan Hurrell says the person attended a boot camp on Browns Bay Beach before spending an hour at the gym last Saturday.

The 10 people who were at the boot camp, including the club's manager and a personal trainer, were classified as close contacts and had to self isolate for 14 days.

Those who were at the gym between 10.30am and midnight were classed as casual contacts and were asked to get a test and then self-isolate at home until a negative result was returned.

Staff members are still waiting for the results of their first test.

Barring further developments, he said the gym would re-open at midday today after three deep cleans and a disinfectant fogging of the entire club.

Marine supply store

A person who visited The Malt also visited the Burnsco Gulf Harbour store twice on Sunday, around 10.30am and around 3.30pm.

"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."

Westpac head office worker tests positive

Westpac has confirmed a staff member at its head office has tested positive for Covid-19, and employees are being asked to monitor their health.

The bank spokesman said the non-customer facing employee contracted it from a close contact.

"As soon as they became aware a member of their household had contact with a Covid-19 case, the employee self-isolated.

"The self-isolation started last Friday evening and official advice is that the staff member would not have become infectious until Tuesday of this week."

However, the spokesman said, as a precaution, the bank was deep cleaning the workspace and floor where the staff member worked.

Dr Siouxsie Wiles
Dr Siouxsie Wiles
Marine engineer a "hero"

He was the 1530th case of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand.

We still don't know much about this man - a 27-year-old marine electronics technician understood to work at Albany-based Wright Technologies.

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles called him a "hero" who had followed the strict precautions that came with a job considered to be high-risk for Covid-19.

"Importantly, he immediately got tested and went into isolation. This will have limited the time he was in contact with others in the community while infectious," she said.

"I'd like to thank the worker for getting tested so fast, as this will have limited the risk of the virus spreading any further."

Otago University epidemiologist Michael Baker said the case could have otherwise led to a much larger outbreak.

Weekend a summer rehearsal

New Zealanders will be in a summer rehearsal this long weekend amid an intense campaign by health authorities to encourage the use of the tracer app.

Yesterday, Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there would be an intensive push during the next 72 hours to encourage New Zealanders to use the app.

"The more we scan, the safer we'll be," Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield's comments reflected the lax attitude of some after it emerged that many patrons at The Malt did not sign in.

It followed warnings from health experts about public complacency when the country moved to alert level 1.

Nine new cases yesterday

There were nine new cases of Covid-19 yesterday - one in the marine engineer cluster and eight in managed isolation.

Seven of the cases in managed isolation are among the fishing crew in Christchurch, the other person arrived from Iran.

The other new case was a close contact of the marine engineer who is believed to have tested positive while working on a ship that arrived in New Zealand from overseas.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 66.

No need to change the alert level ... yet

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

However, Bloomfield said on Thursday the Government was interested in whether there were any indications it should do so.

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

That meant always washing hands, using good cough and sneeze etiquette, staying away from gatherings, and not going on holiday if you are unwell.

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

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