Hot pools, hair salon: New details revealed about COVID-19 family's Taupō trip

New details have been revealed about a trip taken last week by Kiwis who later tested positive for COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced three new community cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand which were not connected to the Auckland August cluster.

Instead, the family group were linked to the Christchurch-Auckland charter flight a person who had COVID-19 flew on.

Two of Wednesday's cases were tested because they were known contacts, the third was tested as a household contact, the ministry said.

On Thursday afternoon, it was revealed the family had travelled to Taupō between September 18 and 20 where they met up with 18 other people from five locations around New Zealand.

"Those 18 people, who travelled from Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton are all considered close contacts," the ministry said.

"In addition to those 18 people, another 13 people have been identified as close contacts."

All 31 close contacts have been, or are in the process of, being tested for COVID-19 and are all isolating as a precaution.

The Ministry of Health has identified four businesses the individuals may have visited while infectious:

  • Christchurch domestic airport, Sept 11, 10:30-12:30pm
  • Hot pools at DeBretts Spa Resort, Taupō, Sept 18, 2:30-7pm
  • Taupo Tandem Skydiving based at Taupō Airport, Sept 19, 2-3:30pm
  • Just Cuts, Westfield, St Lukes, September 17, 4-5pm

Toi Te Ora Public Health added three more businesses to the list on Thursday afternoon:

  • Z Petrol Station, Turangi, Sept 20, 11- 11:15am
  • Subway (Roberts Street), Taupō, Sept 20, 5- 5:15pm
  • KFC (Roberts Street), Taupō, Sept 20, 5:15 - 5:30pm

"If you were at one of these places at these dates and times there is a small possibility that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and so considered to be a casual contact,"  said medical officer of health Dr Neil de Wet.

"You should monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from the time of exposure."

Just Cuts said in a statement the person who tested positive had visited between 3 and 5pm, longer than the time frame the Ministry of Health had outlined.

"Auckland Regional Public Health Service advises that they have identified only one other person who was in the salon at the time as a close contact and that they consider 'everyone else who was in the salon at the same be only a casual contact of the case; they are therefore at very low risk of catching the disease.'"

The company said the salon has also had enhanced cleaning and physical distancing measures during COVID-19 pandemic to protect staff and customers.

"While the Health Service has confirmed all the appropriate hygiene measures were in place, the salon has taken the precautions of a deep clean of the salon. The salon will be reopened tomorrow."

The Ministry of Health said the country's contact tracing team is now working to identify other locations of interest and will issue exposure notices through the COVId Tracer App.

"It’s pleasing to note the extensive use of the NZ COVID Tracer app by one of these cases has significantly assisted contact tracing efforts.

"Anyone visiting these places at these times should be vigilant of their health and get tested if they develop symptoms."