Coronavirus: Man with COVID-19, believed to have gang links, allowed to isolate at home

Newshub can reveal a COVID-positive man, believed to have gang links, was allowed to isolate at home in South Auckland - but nearby residents say people in the household were seen walking around the neighbourhood. 

A green portaloo was the only remaining sign of the at-home isolation arrangement. It was there for a security guard to use. 

The guard was keeping watch on a COVID-19 case in isolation - although a nearby resident says family at the address didn't stay home, and were seen walking up the road to the shops. 

"I had seen the girl who lives there walking down the road with a shopping bag and had bread," said a resident.

The woman has lived there 76 years, and is a few doors down from the family which she said seemed like good people. But she did find the situation strange. 

"I thought well surely they're meant to be in lockdown, but they weren't weren't. They were just walking up the road."

She says the guard and the portaloo were there for over a week. That was, until the police arrived and the whole family was taken away. 

ACT Leader David Seymour says it's an example of the Government being "intimidated by gang members and allowing different rules for them, endangering all of us".

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson wasn't aware of the situation, but was clear home isolation COVID-19 cases and their families can't leave home. 

The Ministry of Health couldn't answer specific questions about the case Newshub highlighted, but said an exemption for a case to isolate at home is only given in "exceptional circumstances". 

The Ministry said since the Delta outbreak began, 27 COVID positive cases have been given exemptions to home isolate and currently just one case was in home isolation. 

The ministry is adamant home isolation is just as strict as MIQ.

"Restrictions around the possibility of any spread of infection are just as tight as they would be if they were in a facility," said Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay.

Although that doesn't appear to be the case in the situation Newshub's highlighted. 

And there's been another COVID-19 case that's raised eyebrows - a sub-contractor at a Ryman Healthcare construction site in Henderson is confirmed to have the virus. 

Ryman Healthcare told Newshub it immediately closed the site after learning of the case. Two of the workers in the case's bubble have returned negative results, and none of the residents in the flats adjacent have been affected. 

Meanwhile 66 close patients at Middlemore Hospital are being chased up, after two people turned up at the emergency department with COVID-19. 

Henare Manual's mum was having heart surgery at the hospital.

But he was shocked to hear she'd been told last night the toilet in her room couldn't be used as it was also being used by COVID-positive patients in an adjoining room. 

"I would definitely like to see their protocols sharpened up and I find it unacceptable what they're doing," Manual said.

He says staff then taped up the toilet door - supposedly to stop airborne transmission. 

"Not much of an isolation really. It doesn't stop bugger all and she did say they saw one of the patients out of the room at the door."

The Counties Manukau DHB said its staff have an "abundance of experience" working with COVID patients.

It also confirmed it uses tape on doors to deal with COVID cases. 

"When COVID-positive patients leave their rooms we tape the doors around the room in question to enable it to be thoroughly cleaned with Bioquell," a spokesperson told Newshub.

Another 19 new community COVID-19 cases were announced on Friday - just one of which was unlinked.

Health authorities said they expect another 35 cases in the coming days due to more household cases testing positive. 

There are five active sub-clusters.