Coronavirus: North Shore pub-goers asked to self-isolate, get tested after infectious person visited bar

The Malt, Greenhithe.
The Malt, Greenhithe. Photo credit: Google Maps

Aucklanders who visited a North Shore pub last week are being asked to get tested for COVID-19 after an infectious person visited a bar.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said on Wednesday a person who's confirmed to have the virus visited The Malt in Greenhithe on October 16. They were there from 7:30pm until 10pm.

The testing and self-isolation measures are part of an investigation into the infectious person's movements.

ARPHS said most patrons are considered casual contacts but are being asked to get tested as soon as possible. "A few" close contacts in the pub have been identified and are being contacted.

"They should stay at home in self-isolation until they receive a negative test result. Staff will also be asked to get tested," it said.

"If people at the pub that night get sick however, even after a negative test result, they should self-isolate again, and get tested again."

There will be a pop-up community testing centre in the Greenhithe area on Thursday. Locations and opening times will be made available on the ARPHS website once they are confirmed.

"Household members of pub patrons from that night need only to get tested and stay home if the person who was at the pub becomes sick or develops any symptoms, or unless directed by Public Health."

People who scanned the COVID-19 Tracer App at The Malt during this evening should receive a notification that confirms they were there at the same time as the case.

The confirmed infection from the pub was one of the cases announced by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday.

ARPHS said patrons and staff should look out for symptoms of COVID-19 over the next 14 days. If they develop symptoms they should ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or their GP.

The Malt owner Kevin McVicar told Newshub eight staff were working the night the infectious person visited, but only four would've been in casual contact.

"All I know is that someone in here on the 16th tested positive - they were here from 7:30pm to 10pm - and my staff who were working that night have to get tested," he said.

His pub, which he has owned for five years, will remain closed until further notice.

"It's very frustrating, but there's nothing we can do about it is there."

He said the Ministry of Health is contacting him on Thursday to run him through the details of the case. 

This comes after two new community cases were announced on Wednesday. These cases are two colleagues of Sunday's community case, a port worker.

The first was previously considered a casual contact, and is an employee of the same small firm as Sunday's case. They had a very short period of exposure to their colleague on Friday morning - just a "few minutes in the same room", Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

The person was tested after becoming symptomatic on Tuesday. One household contact is currently isolating and has also been tested.

The second colleague who tested positive is a previously reported close contact of Sunday's community case. They have been at the Auckland quarantine facility since Sunday but had returned a negative test on Friday as part of routine surveillance testing at the port. 

The person was also tested on Tuesday shortly after presenting symptoms. His household contacts were "contacts of contacts", Dr Bloomfield said, and were initially isolated and tested as a precaution. As they are now considered close contacts, they will isolate for the full 14-day period and be retested.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said during Wednesday's COVID-19 announcement ARPHS was taking a "proactive approach" to contact tracing in regard to these two cases.

ARPHS provided a list of urgent care clinics that are open on Wednesday night and offer testing:

  • North Shorecare Smales Farm, 74 Taharoto Rd, Takapuna, open 24 hours
  • Shorecare Northcross, 948 East Coast Rd, Northcross, Mon-Sun 8am-8pm 
  • East Care, 260 Botany Rd, Golflands, open 24 hours 
  • Takanini Urgent Care, 106 Great South Rd, Takanini, Mon-Sun 8am-8pm
  • Counties Urgent Care, Papakura, 6-18 O'Shannessey St, Papakura, Mon-Sun 8am-10pm 
  • Urgent Care, Franklin, 149 Manukau Rd, Pukekohe, Mon-Sun 8am-8pm