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Auckland CBD workers asked to work from home as mystery COVID case is investigated

Auckland CBD workers asked to work from home as mystery COVID case is investigated

Auckland CBD workers asked to work from home as mystery COVID case is investigated

There is a new community case of COVID-19 in Auckland, and there is currently no known link to the border.

The origin of the case is under investigation, but COVID-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said the government will consider whether an alert level adjustment is necessary once more information is available.

“Tomorrow we will have more information, and when we have that we will make further decisions, that will include considerations of adjustments to alert levels,” he said on Thursday evening.

The positive case is a woman who went to work after becoming symptomatic and after being tested. She became symptomatic on Monday 9 November and was tested in 10 November.

The woman works at A-Z Collection on High Street in the CBD, and she went to work from Monday 9 November to Wednesday 11 November. She has a customer-facing role as a shop assistant.

Officials claim the woman called in sick to work, but after a conversation with her manager, she still went to work and wore a mask there. That allegation was disputed by the store, with the shop’s co-owner providing conflicting accounts to Stuff of what happened when the staff member tried to call in sick.

People who work in downtown Auckland are being asked to work from home tomorrow if possible, “out of an abundance of caution”. People who must go to the CBD are being asked to wear masks, as are people who will be catching planes or public transport.

The woman’s recent movements include:

• Smith and Caughey’s on Queen St on Sat 7 November (3.50 pm – 6 pm)
• Red Pig Restaurant, Kitchener St on Sat 7 November (6pm – 8.30pm)
• Takeaways from Starbucks Queen St and from Sunnytown Restaurant on Sun 8 November (11.30 am to 11.45 am)
• Takeaways from The Gateau House on Queen St on Sun 8 November (6.40pm to 6.50pm)
• Takeaways from Starbucks Queen St and from Sunnytown Restaurant, Lorne St on Mon 9 November (11.31am – 11.40 am)

Anyone at these places around these times should isolate and get tested.

The woman is a student at AUT, although she has not been on campus since mid-October.

Hipkins responded to media reports that the case could have become infected when a managed facility near the case’s accommodation was evacuated due to a fire alarm.

Hipkins said the evacuation was not likely to be a source of infection for this case as she was already symptomatic.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Hipkins announced the new case in a press briefing on Thursday.

Bloomfield said the Auckland case was an “important reminder” of why anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 needs to get tested and stay home until the results come through.

As a precautionary measure, Bloomfield asked people who have visited the A-Z Collection store between Saturday 7 November and today to get a test and to isolate until they have received the results. The same advice was issued for anyone who is a resident at or visitor to the Vincent Residency at 106 Vincent Street in central Auckland. A deep clean of the common areas of the building is taking place.

There were three new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand on Thursday, one in managed isolation, and two in the community. The second community case is linked to the November quarantine cluster, and the person is in quarantine in Wellington.

He said “we are in the early days” of information regarding the case without a link to the border, and there are many questions that need to be answered.

Regarding the Novemeber quarantine cluster case, the person is a civilian NZ Defence Force worker who went to lunch at Little Penang on The Terrace on Friday last week in Wellington.

They isolated at home on Saturday after developing symptoms and have since been moved to quarantine.

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