Auckland business owner 'disgusted' Ministry of Health didn't contact him about positive COVID-19 case's visit

A business owner is "disgusted" he hasn't been contacted by the Ministry of Health after a confirmed COVID-19 case visited his store. 

A 56-year-old woman, who left Auckland's Pullman Hotel MIQ facility on January 13, later developed symptoms and returned a positive test.

The woman visited several shops and cafes in north Auckland and the Northland region before testing positive. 

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On Sunday night, the Ministry of Health released a list of the 30 locations she visited which included the South Head General Store in northwest Auckland. 

Owner Aaron Watson said it was "devastating" to find out that his business was listed, especially because the Ministry of Health didn’t contact him. 

"It's quite scary and it's disgusting, absolutely disgusting. Why hasn't anyone got in contact with us? I mean we are on the list and we found out on Facebook from a friend last night," Watson told Newshub on Monday. 

"Very honestly we are devastated, we are shattered, we've been up most of the night. We only found out just after nine last night." 

Watson said the store is closed as a precaution and he is trying to get a COVID-19 test because he has a tickly throat. 

But he says he has no idea what to do and is urging The Ministry of Health to improve its communication. 

"Please get in contact, someone let us know what we need to do. Apparently, they have set up a testing station down in Helensville but we are fearful to even drive out."

Watson isn't alone with Macnut Cafe, Joseph Taylor Homewares, and Aesthetic Clothing Store all telling Stuff they also weren't contacted about the visit. 

The Ministry of Health wouldn't comment on Monday morning, instead directing Newshub to the 1pm press conference. 

Earlier on Monday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told The AM Show that two of the positive case's close contacts had tested negative. The contacts include the woman's husband and her hairdresser. 

"They are the first of the close contact test results to come through. This woman only had six close contacts, there were some additional contacts of people who potentially could have been contacts. 

"So two out of six so far, that's good.

"There will be a lot of testing over the next 24 to 48 hours of that wider group of contacts."

Hipkins said the woman's wider contacts should have received an alert through the COVID-19 Tracer app and should self isolate and get a test.

"The wider circle, which is the people who were at the same locations, would have received push notifications if they have been scanning in using their QR codes, if not we are asking them to go out and seek a test.

"We've released the timetable… which tells you just being at that location isn't a sign of risk itself. Have a look at the time and day you were there to identify whether it is likely there was any overlap."

He said so far no one else has returned a positive test and stressed that it's still too early to know whether an alert level change or lockdown is necessary. 

"At this point the piece of the puzzle, as always, is identifying where this person picked up COVID-19 - whether it was something they brought with them into the country and it had an unnaturally or an unusually long incubation period, whether they picked it up in managed isolation, or somewhere else.

"Our investigation looks at all of those things and until we really have been able to identify that it's difficult to make any predictions about what might happen."

He said the genomic sequencing is underway and will help to identify where the woman picked up the virus.