Covid 19 coronavirus: Third Grand Millennium Hotel worker tests positive, four locations of interest

Another worker at a central Auckland MIQ hotel has tested positive for Covid – a close contact of the hotel security guard who tested positive last week.

And while there is believed to be little additional risk to the public, four new locations of interest have been released by the Ministry of Health – two bakeries, a dairy and a cellphone retailer.

Last night’s new case is also a worker at the Grand Millennium hotel – it is the third case at the hotel in recent weeks, and is known as Case C. Case A was a cleaner who tested positive on March 21 and Case B is the security guard who tested positive last week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today that the new case was a close contact of the security guard and had initially returned a negative test.

The fact that the guard had not had a Covid jab was a matter for his employer.

Asked about why workers were not vaccinated, Ardern told TVNZ that 79 per cent of First Security staff had been vaccinated against Covid.

Ardern said that was “not good enough”.

“Everyone in MIQ has to be vaccinated,” she said of all workers at the border.

Ardern said that as soon as there was a new case, she asked officials how they felt about it.

She said director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield was “not anxious at all in this situation”.

Speaking about the India travel ban, Ardern acknowledged that there were other high-risk Covid countries.

“Had we seen the same thing happen in Brazil, had we seen the same thing happen in the United States, I would do the same thing,” she said.

The most important thing was that the India travel ban was “a pause” and that this would not be permanent.

Ardern said what they had seen was that people coming to New Zealand from India appeared to be getting Covid after being tested.

She acknowledged that they may be happening as people were heading into the city or on their way to the airport.

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Cases A and B are genomically linked to a person who returned to New Zealand on March 13, the ministry said last night.

While Case B – the security guard – infection can be genomically linked to that of Case A, what isn’t known is how the infection was passed between the two.

The ministry said an investigation into the transmission was ongoing.

In terms of Case C, it said there was believed to be very little additional risk to the community as the person had been self-isolating at home since being deemed a close contact of Case B.

“This worker and their partner have this afternoon moved to the Auckland quarantine facility,” said the ministry.

In the wake of the security guard and cleaner’s positive results, the ministry said an out-of-cycle Infection Prevention and Control audit of the hotel would be carried out, similar to that previously done at both the Pullman and the Grand Mercure facilities.

Meanwhile, four new locations of interest in Mt Roskill were released yesterday in relation to the security guard (Case B).

They are: Bikanervala Bakery, Terminus Dairy, White Swan Mobile and Bake and Beans. They were visited at various times between March 29 and April 7.

• Bikanervala Bakery, White Swan Rd – April 7 – 1.30pm to 2.30pm
• Bake and Beans, 1484 Dominion Rd – April 1, April 2, April 6 – 4.30pm to 5.30pm
• Terminus Dairy, 1484 Dominion Rd – March 31, April 1, April 6, April 7 – 4.30pm to 5.30pm
• White Swan Mobile, 151 White Swan Rd – March 29 – 3.30pm to 4.30pm

Anyone at these locations during the relevant time periods is considered a casual contact and should monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure.

If you become unwell or develop symptoms, call Healthline, get tested and stay at home until you get a negative test result.

PM: This really is the last call

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says border workers have up to the end of April to be vaccinated before they are moved out of their jobs.

But National’s Chris Bishop says the rule should be applied from now on, not the end of April, considering border vaccinations began on February 20.

He also says a voluntary register of border workers to record testing and vaccinations should be a mandatory requirement for all employers with border-facing staff.

And he says there appeared to varying estimates, between 80 per cent and 95 per cent,of how many border workers had been vaccinated.

Questions about just how many border workers have not been vaccinated were triggered by last week’s positive case of a privately employed security guard working at the Grand Millennium managed isolation hotel – who had missed two vaccination appointments.

Ardern said on Thursday that from Monday, unvaccinated border workers would start being moved to other work.

On TVNZ’s Q+A on Sunday, she said they would have up to the end of the month to be vaccinated or moved.

“We are moving into the phase where the window is closing … we have already set down that the period from Monday through to the end of this month – if in that period they are not vaccinated, they are redeployed.

“This really is the last call. We had always planned that this would be the period in which that would happen.”

But Bishop said if border workers had not had at least one of their two doses of vaccine by now, they should be moved off the frontline.

“It should be a very clear and immediate rule.

“There has been more than enough time since the vaccination programme started with the border workers to get vaccinated. Most people say that’s a reasonable amount of time.You are vaccinated and if you’re not, you can’t work on the frontline.”

Latest MIQ cases

Meanwhile, there were three new cases of Covid-19 reported in managed isolation yesterday.

Two of the three arrived from India between April 5 and 9, and tested positive within three days.

The third case arrived from Papua New Guinea on April 8 and tested positive on day 1 of managed isolation.

The total number of active cases across the country is now 109.

The seven-day rolling average of new border-related cases is 9.

The ministry has confirmed a ship crew member in Taranaki who was under investigation had a historical infection that has already been reported overseas. The person has since returned a negative test result.

More than 4300 Covid-19 tests were processed yesterday.

Hotel worker cases: Here's what we know

Three workers at the Grand Millennium have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks. They are known as cases A, B and C.

Case A is a cleaner at the managed isolation facility who tested positive for Covid-19 on March 21.

Whole Genome Sequencing results indicated that Case A was infected with the UK variant of the virus and has been genomically linked to a returnee who arrived in New Zealand on March 13.

Of the people who arrived in New Zealand on March 13, at least eight have returned a positive result during testing in MIQ, according to daily Ministry of Health updates.

Case B is a 24-year-old security guard who tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

The guard reported having a sore throat four days before being tested, and had not yet been vaccinated.

The guard, employed by a private contractor, had been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

Whole genome sequencing has genomically linked Case B with Case A.

The Grand Millenium worker, whose Covid-19 result was announced last night, is known as Case C and was deemed a close contact of Case B.

Case C and their partner had been moved to the Auckland quarantine facility.


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