Covid 19 coronavirus: Auckland supermarket, childcare centre linked to infected MIQ cleaner

A Countdown supermarket in Auckland’s CBD was closed for a deep clean after a staff member related to the infected MIQ cleaner was believed to have tested positive for Covid.

Countdown Quay St was closed at midday yesterday.

Countdown spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin said after a team member returned a “weak positive” Covid-19 result the store was closed as a precaution.

“We immediately closed the store just before midday to brief and provide support to our team, undertake a deep clean and wait for further advice,” Hannifin said.

The store reopened today.

A relative of the MIQ worker had initially returned a “weak positive” Covid test result, but it was confirmed this morning they had subsequently tested negative.

The infected MIQ cleaner also visited an Auckland kindergarten before testing positive, it emerged earlier today.

Cleaner's childcare visit

The person visited BestStart St Lukes childcare centre to collect a grandchild on Friday.

The centre was closed for a deep clean on Tuesday and has reopened today.

On Tuesday, parents were sent text messages and emails informing them the centre was closed “out of precautions” but were not told about the Covid case’s visit until later in the afternoon.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said the visit to the childcare centre was a “very low risk” of infection.

The case spent less than 10 minutes picking up the child, without being in close contact with anyone at the centre, the spokesperson said.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service had thoroughly investigated the visit, talking to the centre management and to the case.

The only current official location of interest remains the Mt Roskill Countdown supermarket – the MIQ worker visited there on Saturday from 3pm to 3.15pm.

Cleaner's relative returns negative test result

Meanwhile the household member of an infected managed isolation facility cleaner who had a weak-positive Covid-19 test result has now come back negative for the virus.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield this morning confirmed the family member had undergone further tests, including serology, which had come back negative.

Speaking to TVNZ’s Breakfast Show, Bloomfield said genome results had also come back, showing the cleaner at the centre of the latest border-related case had contracted the UK variant.

The genome sequencing had shown a link with the cleaner’s workplace, the Millennium Hotel managed isolation facility.

“It matches the genome of a person who was staying in the hotel, a returnee from overseas, who was there from the 13th to the 15th of March,” he said.

That infection was picked up day zero/ one of routine testing, he said.

The infected returnee was staying in managed isolation before the cleaner had received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccination.

Bloomfield said the negative result of the re-tested household member who had initially returned a weak positive, coupled with the negative serology result, was unexpected.

“So this is a little bit of a puzzle but it suggests that it could have been a false positive or it could have been an early infection,” he said.

That person was going to remain as a case under investigation and there would be further testing in coming days, he said.

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