Three more cases at Auckland coolstore

Three new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed at a Mt Wellington coolstore, the New Zealand Herald can reveal.

Americold managing director Richard Winnall told the Herald test results had come back this morning confirming the new infections, taking the facility's tally of confirmed infections to four.

He understood there were further confirmed cases relating to family members of the positive Americold workers, but said details around these would be released by the Ministry of Health later today.

"It's not good. There's a lot of people awaiting test results, they got families. There's a lot of anxiety and concern."

About half of the Mt Wellington's workers had received test results, with rest due soon.

Yesterday the Ministry revealed that one of four family members from South Auckland who had tested positive for the virus worked at the Americold plant in Mt Wellington.

Auckland was plunged back into alert level 3 lockdown yesterday after news of the new infections.

There is no known link to overseas travel or managed isolation, and the source of infection is unknown.

It was revealed yesterday that surface testing is underway at the Mt Wellington coolstore to determine if the virus could have been brought into the country on refrigerated goods.

Winnall confirmed there had been outbreak in the last week of two cases at the company's Melbourne facility.

However, he was adamant there was no link with the Mt Wellington case. He stressed there were no shipments from the Melbourne plant direct to the company's Auckland factories and the positive Australian cases worked on a completely different supply chain.

The Herald has put questions to the Ministry of Health asking if it's aware of Americold's Melbourne outbreak, whether its investigating if the outbreak is a possible source for the Mt Wellington infection.

A spokeswoman repeated yesterday's announcement that surface testing was underway at the Mt Wellington facility and that further information would be released at today's 1pm press conference.

Health officials are now scrambling to trace close contacts of the South Auckland family and experts warn there may already be several dozen cases of the virus circulating in the community.

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