COVID-19: KFC worker says she was never told to self-isolate, wants an apology from PM

The COVID positive KFC worker, known as Case L, has told Newshub she's upset the Prime Minister told the country she should have been self-isolating, as the official advice she got was that she didn't need to.

She says she and her family have been ridiculed online, and wants an apology.

Case L tested positive on Friday February 26 after being shifted to quarantine with her family. She had attended work on Tuesday February 22.

When asked whether Case L should have been isolating rather than working, the Prime Minister answered: "Look, yes they should have".

Ardern warned of "repercussions", and said people needed to do the right thing.  

When she was asked about how she felt about the new positive case, Case L, she responded: "no question, of course, like everyone - frustrated."

But the KFC employee told Newshub she wasn't told to self-isolate by anyone, and found the Prime Minister's comments "upsetting". 

"It's not fair on our end that we're getting all this backlash for something that we haven't actually done," Case L told Newshub.

  • Case L's sister is Case I, a Papatoetoe High Student, who was considered a "casual plus" contact. She was the first in the family to test positive on Tuesday February 23. 
  • Case J had been working at Kmart before her sister's test result was known. Case K is an infant.
  • And Case L is the KFC worker who went to work on Monday February the 22nd - again before her sister tested positive.

Case L, the KFC worker said not only did she not receive any information from anyone instructing her to isolate, the information her sister, Case I, received was the complete opposite of what officials have claimed.

On February 14, Case I, received a text message stating: "casual contacts to isolate and test - their families don't need to".

Case L saw this message - so went to work. They've since been harassed online. 

"We're being called stupid, saying that our family needs to be prosecuted, be put in jail....and people saying they need a few slaps to the head."

The Health Ministry said contact tracers tried to call the family and followed up with text messages. 

The Prime Minister's Office said letters from public health were sent to the family on the 17th and 19th telling the household they needed to be tested. 

But case L's family said such advice was never received. 

"If they tried to contact us multiple times and send us letters and stuff, where is this evidence?" She said.

Her union representative says they had no problem contacting her - and got her on the phone within 3 minutes. 

"I would call it outrageous," Unite Union National Secretary John Crocker said.

"It's a pretty serious botch up really. We're trying to keep a lid on this thing and government officials can't get the line straight.

"When the public is trying to do the right thing. Then, they're re-victimising them by calling them out."

Case L says she wants to get the truth out there.

"It would be nice if the truth can get out there and for her to apologise to us for what's been said."

On Monday, Newshub asked if the Prime Minister had her facts correct.

"I'm happy to go back and look at any questions I've answered in relation to that family."

The Prime Minister says her comments were based on the last two letters from public health - the family says if they didn't get them, they're not at fault.