Positive Covid-19 case worked at Port Taranaki and stayed in New Plymouth

 stuff.co.nz  10/18/2020 05:52:00 

Public health workers are contacting close contacts of a man who tested positive for Covid-19 after working at Port Taranaki and staying in a New Plymouth hotel.

The Auckland man is a marine electronics technician in his 20s who travels the country working on large ships.

He tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday after travelling to New Plymouth for work at Port Taranaki last Tuesday and Wednesday (October 13-14).

He spent Tuesday night at the Devon Hotel and checked into the Quest Hotel the following day but did not stay.

* Coronavirus: One new community case of Covid-19 in Auckland
* South Korea Covid-19 case: Second positive test rules out testing error, man spent time in Queenstown
* All Covid-19 cases in Taranaki have recovered

Instead, he drove back to Auckland and is now in isolation at the Auckland quarantine facility.

The case was announced on Sunday by the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

The Ministry of Health said the man was potentially infectious on Wednesday and Thursday.

In a statement, the Taranaki District Health Board said it was supporting a national health response and providing access to testing for border workers.

Pop-up testing will be available at Port Taranaki from Monday in addition to the weekly surveillance that has been taking place over the last few months.

At this stage priority testing is for people who are considered close contacts, port workers and anyone in New Plymouth who is showing symptoms.

Dr Rob Weir, on-call medical officer of health, said the risk to the wider Taranaki community is very low, but he urged people not to wait if they had symptoms and needed a test.

Everyone in New Plymouth should remain vigilant for any symptoms of Covid-19, and get a test as soon as you can if you become unwell.

The Prime Minister has said there is no reason to suggest the need to move the Covid-19 alert levels.

Jacinda Ardern said she was confident there was enough testing of high-risk workers and said the new community case had been tested four times previously

Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said they were working through their entry and exit point records to determine if the man had contact with any port staff.

At this stage, the Ministry of Health has determined only one staff member had brief contact with the confirmed case. That staff member is being contacted and tested, he said in a written statement.

A man who worked at Port Taranaki has tested positive for Covid-19.
A man who worked at Port Taranaki has tested positive for Covid-19.

Devon Hotel manager Peter Tennent said the man did not come into close contact with other guests, did not use the facilities, and checked out early Wednesday morning.

Tennent was alerted to the case by the Ministry of Heath (MOH) on Sunday morning and had the room thoroughly cleaned, although he said he was told it was not necessary.

Deep clean done top to bottom of the room," Tennent said.

The Devon Hotel owner Peter Tennent said the room the man stayed in had been deep cleaned.
The Devon Hotel owner Peter Tennent said the room the man stayed in had been deep cleaned.

Staff that may have come in contact with the man have been told to get a test and stay home from work if they feel unwell, Tennent added.

The details of the person who stayed in the room the following night had been passed onto health officials.

After driving back to Auckland, the man spent Thursday at home, apart from going out to get food, and went to work on Friday before going to get a Covid-19 test after feeling unwell.

He is now staying at Aucklands Jet Park quarantine facility. His four household contacts are in isolation and have been tested.

He was tested a few hours after developing the symptoms.

He wears masks and gloves when working and receives regular testing under border requirements.

"His close contacts from his work in New Plymouth are being scoped, Bloomfield said, and they were largely people he had worked with on the vessel at Port Taranaki.

A World Health Organization doctor caused some consternation this week when he suggested that lockdowns should be the last resort to control Covid-19.

Bloomfield said the man was in a high-risk category" for contracting the virus as he works on ships for several hours a day and travels around the country.

It's very unlikely the ship he worked on Wednesday in New Plymouth is the source of the infection because it would be a very, very short incubation period, said Bloomfield.

Other vessels the man has worked on in the last 14 days had been identified.

Maritime Union of New Zealand national secretary Joe Fleetwood said the case highlighted the need to limit the number of international ports in New Zealand.

Right now nearly all of our domestic sea freight is carried by international ships running international crews who are not covered by New Zealand law. It means that every single one of our ports is an international border point and it puts our members and the public at risk, he said.

Weve been talking to the government about this for a while and both Labour and the Greens have repeatedly backed the need to strengthen New Zealand flagged coastal shipping. Its time to accelerate that change.


« Go back