COVID-19: Central Auckland Countdown linked to COVID-positive managed isolation worker

Quat St Countdown.
Quat St Countdown. Photo credit: Google

A central Auckland Countdown was closed for a deep-clean on Tuesday after a staff member, a relative of the managed isolation worker who contracted COVID-19, returned a weak positive result for the virus.

The staff member is a relative and household contact of Case A, a cleaner at Auckland's Grand Millennium Hotel who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. 

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown's general manager of health and safety, confirmed the Quay St store was closed at 11:30am on Tuesday and reopened "as normal" on Wednesday morning.

"We were contacted yesterday morning about a team member in our Quay St store who at that stage had returned a weak positive COVID test," she told Newshub.

"As a precaution, we immediately closed the store just before midday to brief and provide support to our team, undertake a deep-clean and wait for further advice."

During a press conference on Tuesday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the relative of Case A had returned a weak positive result for COVID-19. 

However, it was later confirmed on Wednesday morning that the family member had since tested negative after undertaking an additional test and serology. They are currently classified as under investigation.

Case A returned a positive result on Monday due to routine surveillance testing as a frontline border worker. Genome sequencing has linked the cleaner to a recent returnee, who had been staying at the same facility between March 13-15. They tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival and contracted the virus before Case A had received their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday.

The Countdown on Quay St has yet to be identified by the Ministry of Health as a location of interest. The only location currently connected to Case A is the Countdown in Mt Roskill, which the cleaner visited for roughly 10 minutes between 3pm and 3:15pm on Saturday, March 20.

On Wednesday morning it was also revealed that Case A had visited BestStart kindergarten in the Auckland suburb of St Lukes on Friday - three days before testing positive for COVID-19. The kindergarten was closed for a deep-clean on Tuesday and also reopened on Wednesday.

Stuff reported that parents were informed of the closure via text and email, however they were not made aware of Case A's visit until later that afternoon.

The kindergarten has also not been listed as a location of interest by the Ministry of Health.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health confirmed that three other household contacts of Case A had tested negative.