Coronavirus: Health officials reveal new details on Auckland community case

A fire alarm at an Auckland managed isolation or quarantine (MIQ) facility is unlikely to be the incident that caused the country's latest COVID-19 case, health officials say.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said she was aware of reports of a fire alarm going off at the Grand Millennium, but said it probably wasn't the source as the woman in her 20s was already symptomatic that day.

The new case was announced on Thursday, and isn't linked to the border nor a MIQ facility.

The woman is a student at the Auckland University of Technology who lives alone, hadn't been on-campus since mid-October and hadn't visited a supermarket while infectious.

However it's been revealed she worked in a customer-facing role at clothing store A-Z Collection on High St, and attended work while she was feeling ill.

In addition to the store, there are a number of locations of interest the person visited while they were possibly infectious. These include:

  • Saturday November 7: 3:50pm - 6pm, Smith and Caughey's Queen St; 6pm - 8:30pm, Red Pig Restaurant
  • Sunday November 8: 11:30am - 11:45am, takeaways from Starbucks Queen St and Sunnytown Restaurant Lorne St; 6:40pm - 6:50pm, takeaways from The Gateau House, 332 Queen St
  • Monday November 9: 11:31am - 11:40am, takeaways from Starbucks Queen St and Sunnytown Restaurant Lorne St

The Ministry of Health says anyone who was dining at the Red Pig Restaurant on Saturday night needs to be tested and go into self-isolation until they receive a negative test result.

Meanwhile anyone who was at Smith and Caughey's, Starbucks, Sunnytown or The Gateau House at the same times should watch for symptoms and get tested if they feel unwell, and stay in self-isolation until they receive a negative test.

As a result of the new community infection, everyone who works in downtown Auckland is asked to work from home on Friday if possible.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking people to work in downtown Auckland to work from home tomorrow," Dr McElnay said.

"Minimising movement in the CBD is currently the best precautionary measure we can take."

Minister of the COVID Response Chris Hipkins said he will have more information on Friday.

"Tomorrow we will have more information, and we will make further decisions - including possible adjustments to our alert levels."

He said the infection could still be quite contained which is why it doesn't meet the threshold for increasing alert levels yet.

The infected person lives in the Vincent Residency on Vincent St, and CCTV footage. Everyone in the apartment building has been asked to self-isolate for the next three days, and a testing site is being set up for residents.

"Testing is the most important piece of the puzzle and it will begin tonight," Hipkins said, referring to the case's close contacts and apartment residents.

Close contacts of the case have been identified and it is a "small circle".

"I am not aware her friends were in the education setting. We have a very limited set of contacts for those contacts," Dr McElnay said.

Hipkins said people should take "enhanced precautions" and wear masks on transport.

"Our guidance at the moment with masks is if you are using public transport or flying in Auckland, please wear masks," he said.

It is also safe to send children to school in the CBD, Hipkins said, but "if that changes we will let you know as soon as possible".

He has also had "several conversations" with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and is keeping her up-to-date with what he knows, he said.