Coronavirus: Case B took three bus journeys in Auckland, fellow passengers told to watch for COVID-19 symptoms

An Auckland managed isolation facility worker used public transport several times in the weeks before testing positive for COVID-19, health officials have revealed.

The Grand Millennium security guard, known as Case B, was a passenger on Auckland Transport (AT) buses three times while potentially infectious - on March 29, April 3 and April 4.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has classified Case B's fellow passengers as casual contacts, as he sat away from other passengers and wore a mask. They have been told to be on high alert for COVID-19 symptoms and seek a test if they feel unwell.

The bus journeys in question are:

  • Monday, March 29: Bus 25 L, taken between 6:19 and 6:44, from St James, Queen St (Stop 7058) to 1530 Dominion Rd, (Stop 8444)

  • Saturday, April 3 (Easter Saturday): Bus 25 L, taken between 17:19 and 17:47, from 1279 Dominion Rd (Stop 8445) to St James, Queen St (Stop 7058) 

  • Sunday, April 4 (Easter Sunday): Bus 25 L, taken between 17:13 and 17:38, from 1215 Dominion Rd (Stop 8443) to St James Queen St (Stop 7058).

"This information is from AT HOP card data and reflects the time the case boarded and disembarked the buses," an ARPHS spokesperson explained.

"Extra time has been added on either side of each bus trip on the Ministry of Health location of interest page to ensure we reach all potential contacts."

AT is coordinating with ARPHS to alert passengers on these buses who had registered their HOP cards with their contact details. An NZ COVID Tracer app push notification will also be sent out to those who scanned the QR code on each bus.

Bus journey details for April border-related case
Bus journey details for April border-related case. Photo credit: Ministry of Health

ARPHS is urging passengers who have noticed a new or worsening cough fever, shortness of breath, a sore throat, sneezing, a runny nose or a temporary loss of smell to seek a COVID-19 test.

"Some people may have less typical symptoms such as only: fever, diarrhoea, headache, muscle pain, nausea/vomiting, or confusion/irritability. Anyone who has shown these symptoms, or who develops them, should free phone Healthline for advice and arrange to get tested."

Case B is genomically linked to Case A, a cleaner at the Grand Millennium who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 21. Case A, in turn, has a genomic link to a recent returnee who arrived in New Zealand last month and stayed at the facility. 

On Sunday, a third case - Case C - tested positive for the virus. Like Case B, they are a member of the Grand Millennium security team and worked the same overnight shift over Easter weekend.

No locations of interest have been identified in connection to Case C as they were isolating during their infectious period as a contact of Case B. The current locations of interest are all in relation to Case B.