Man in isolation after helping distressed Covid-positive woman

Former policeman Roger Mattson is isolating at home after helping a Covid-positive woman in distress. Photo / Supplied
Former policeman Roger Mattson is isolating at home after helping a Covid-positive woman in distress. Photo / Supplied
An Orewa man is incredulous after giving a distressed woman a lift to the police station only to find out she was Covid-positive and meant to be isolating at home.

"It's really frustrating to be honest," says Roger Mattson, who is now isolating and missing out on time with his teenage son.

On Thursday afternoon, the 49-year-old saw a car driving erratically down the road and come to a screeching halt at the bus stop across the road from his home on the Hibiscus Coast Highway.

He saw a young woman jump out of the car quickly.

"She got out with a big washing basket full of clothes. Doors were slamming open and shut and they were obviously having quite a heated domestic."

The former policeman went out to check if the woman was all right. Keeping a safe distance, he found out she was trying to get away from her abusive partner.

"From my experience I felt he'd probably come back to try and get her, as it was he was trying to contact her on the phone at the time," he told the Herald.

Fully vaccinated himself, he asked if she was vaccinated. "I didn't think to ask if she had Covid since she was out and about."

She was wearing a mask and told him she has had one dose. He made a judgment call, offering to take her to the Orewa Police Station to get a protection order against her partner. She said yes.

Both masked up, he drove her to the police station about three to four minutes away, leaving her in the care of two police officers.

He went home, and no more than 15 minutes later, got a call from one of the police officers. The young woman had tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday at North Shore Hospital. Her partner was also infected.

"He's riding around in a car all over the show, God knows where he's going or what he was doing.

"She was hoping to get a bus, you know, public transport, to go to her home in another part of Whangaparāoa. Looking back it could have been disastrous."

He says he doesn't blame the woman for trying to escape an abusive partner.

"The biggest thing for me is the fact that there are Covid-positive people running around in the community.

"I thought they'd be in MIQ but obviously that's not the case."

MP for Whangaparāoa Mark Mitchell says the Covid-positive woman and her partner are still isolating at home as of Sunday but in different locations.

Mark Mitchell. Photo: NZ Herald
Mark Mitchell. Photo: NZ Herald

The National MP is lobbying the Health Ministry to have the two taken into managed isolation.

"I'm furious that we had two people that were Delta positive... breach [conditions] and put people at risk - serving police officers and a good Samaritan who did the right thing," he told the Herald.

He says the Health Ministry decides whether a person isolates at home or in a quarantine facility, and "it's very hard to track down who actually makes that decision".

"I've had a very weak response, they've come back to me and indicated they weren't aware of who's dealing with the case."

Mitchell is now waiting to hear back from the Waitemata District Health Board.

He says the two police officers who attended to the woman are also having to isolate away from their families.

"One of the police officers is away from his wife and young children," he said in a Facebook post.

Mattson says he took a Covid test on Thursday afternoon within an hour of the incident.

His son could not come home that day. "My 15-year-old son living with me that week has had to go stay with his mum because I have to be home by myself."

The first test came back negative, and he's keeping his fingers crossed for the second test on Tuesday. "I may be able to come out of isolation if that's negative."

He believes he is deemed a "casual-plus" contact because he and the woman were both wearing masks and in the car for a short period of time with the windows wound down.

The Herald has sought comment from Police and the Health Ministry.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter