COVID-19: Mystery Crowne Plaza passersby identified by Ministry of Health after delay

After a day of uncertainty, two people who could be the missing link for New Zealand's first community case of Delta have been tracked down by the Ministry of Health.

On Monday it was revealed six people walked past the person believed to have sparked the outbreak while they were in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza managed isolation facility in Auckland. 

Of those, four have been identified and three have tested negative and one person is in the process of getting a test. The last two were not tracked down until Tuesday afternoon.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed the two remaining people had been identified by contact tracing teams.

"Those two people have been identified and are being interviewed."

Minster for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins says the investigation into the Crowne Plaza is ongoing.

"We know there is a link somewhere, we just don't know where exactly," he told the Health Select Committee.

There is also a cluster of locations of interest within a stone's throw of the Crowne Plaza that were visited by a positive case.

They are St Pierre's Sushi, Starbucks, McDonald's, The Warehouse, St Pierre's Sushi a second time, the Elliot Stables and Countdown - all before lockdown.

However, health officials have all but ruled out that it could be a staff member taking COVID into the community.

"All staff have tested negative at least once I think except one that's being followed up," Dr Bloomfield says.  

On Tuesday 41 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the New Zealand community. It brings the total number of cases in the community outbreak to 148.

Of these 41 new cases, 19 are female and 22 are male. Thirty-one of these are Pacific peoples, three are Asian and seven are European.

The total number of community cases in Auckland is now 137 and 11 in Wellington.