Coronavirus: Second Christchurch managed isolation worker tests positive for COVID-19

The Sudima Christchurch Airport managed isolation facility.
The Sudima Christchurch Airport managed isolation facility. Photo credit: Newshub.

A second worker at the Sudima Christchurch Airport managed isolation facility has tested positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has confirmed. 

The person is a close workplace contact of the case reported on Monday night.

Since the person works at the facility and is not a returnee they are treated as a community case, the ministry said.

"Both this case, and the one reported on Monday, came into contact with the international mariners in the course of their duties, including some of the 31 mariners who have tested positive to COVID-19 and who remain in quarantine," it said.

"The individual was tested as part of the routine testing for staff in the facility and returned a negative test on Thursday 29 October. They are asymptomatic and were retested after being identified as being a close work contact of the case reported on Monday and a positive result was received today."

The person is now in isolation at home and transfer is being arranged to a managed isolation facility.

"The initial assessment is that there are only two close contacts of this current case, both household contacts, both are now being tested and both are in isolation at home."

The Ministry of Health isn't advising of any need to change its current approach at this stage, it said, since both cases have limited numbers of contacts and the incident is "currently well contained".

A pop-up COVID-19 testing centre will be open on Wednesday from 11:30am until 4:30pm in The Princess Margaret Hospital car park for anyone who wishes to be tested.

The first of the Russian and Ukrainian mariners who were due to complete their managed isolation on Tuesday morning have had their stay extended for "at least a further 48 hours" as a precautionary measure.

These precautionary measures include additional tests - up to four tests for some people - and an extended stay in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health said.

The genome sequencing of the case announced on Monday is not expected to be completed until this evening and will be reported on Wednesday.

Further details of the case, if available, and the actions taken in response, will be provided on Wednesday in the Ministry of Health's 1pm update.

On Tuesday during the daily update, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said three lineages of the virus had been found in eight of the mariners by genome sequencing.

He also reminded Kiwis that while there is intense public interest in each individual case here, "the virus is the problem, the people are the solution".