Kitchen staff at an Auckland retirement village owned by New Zealand's second-largest listed company in the sector were replaced when it was discovered a worker attended the Omicron-linked wedding.
Scott Scoullar, Summerset Group chief executive, described the swift reaction on the weekend when facts came to light about the kitchen worker at Flat Bush's Summerset by the Park in Auckland.
"One of our kitchen workers was in attendance at the wedding in Auckland mentioned on the news," Scoullar said of the January 15 event hosted at the Totara Event Centre in New Lynn.
"They were working during the last week in the kitchen. They weren't symptomatic during that period but obviously had obtained the virus," he said today.
"All people who worked with that person who tested positive have been replaced and that was undertaken immediately yesterday morning. It's been in place for 24 hours now," Scoullar said of the new kitchen staff.
The personnel switch happened after a Covid-infected worker was listed as a close contact of a person with Omicron.
The kitchen was staffed by an independent catering company "so they have the capability of putting other people in", Scoullar said.
Residents at the village are now all confined to their rooms and apartments and visitors are banned except on compassionate grounds while the nervous wait continues for the test results.
All staff and residents had to undergo mandatory tests which Scoullar said were completed yesterday.
"We went through that process yesterday and expect to start to get initial results back today."
Retirement villages are considered some of the most vulnerable places if Covid spreads to the older populations there.
Scoullar said Summerset by the Park has around 250 residents with 54 in its hospital. Around 70 staff work there.
The company had been extremely proactive when it learned of the possible Omicron link, he stressed.
"Our initial focus has been on treating all residents as close contacts as a precautionary measure until we get everyone tested. We've been in the process of getting them all tested yesterday," he said of staff and residents.
The 54 patients in the hospital are "100 per cent double vaccinated and they've all had boosters bar a handful and they have either chosen that or haven't met the four-month criteria".
Across the village, more than 97 per cent of residents were double-vaccinated, he said.
"Our focus is doing everything we can in managing the event in as strong a manner as we can. We have well-trained staff in infection control to be able to manage this."
All public health requirements had been followed including cleaning the kitchen and replacing all staff in the kitchen, he said.
"In terms of segregation of our care staff, they are about two steps removed. We have two points of segregation between them and the care staff. They prepare the food but it's provided to people who deliver it to the care centre staff but done on a contactless basis. There are comprehensive controls," he said.
The Ministry of Health yesterday said the Summerset worker with Covid was a close contact of a person with Omicron.
Throughout New Zealand, Summerset has 33 villages with more than 6000 residents.
Scoullar said if Omicron broke out in any of its villages "it just comes down to us doing everything we can but if it does break out, we have protocols in place. We're really experienced in infection management. We have other infectious viral breakouts and have a strong team on site."
Residents in the villages are aged 70-plus.
"Residents and staff were in good spirits yesterday," he said of the Flat Bush site.
The ministry said anyone who has visited the village since Friday and has symptoms of Covid-19 should isolate and get a test as soon as possible.
A Summerset spokesperson said last night: "Visitors to village residents and care residents are paused unless there is an urgent need on compassionate grounds."