One of the workers at Christchurch's Sudima Hotel who tested positive for Covid-19 visited a Chemist Warehouse at a busy shopping mall, Ministry of Health officials have warned.
Chemist Warehouse South City, in central Christchurch, was added to the Ministry of Health's location of interests. These locations may be for casual contacts of Covid-19 community cases.
"While risk from these locations is most often very low, casual contacts are asked to monitor their health and get medical advice from their GP or Healthline if they become unwell," the Ministry of Health said today.
A Covid-19 case visited the Chemist Warehouse between 3.45pm and 4pm last Friday. The Chemist Warehouse is part of a major shopping mall complex.
Chemist Warehouse New Zealand CEO Azman Haroon said additional deep cleaning will take place throughout the store tonight.
"We are taking additional precautions to mitigate any potential risks. No staff are currently isolating, and no staff have experienced symptoms."
The additional precautions include:
• Staff have been informed of the case, and advised to monitor for any symptoms.
• Staff have been instructed to remain at home if any symptoms do occur and to seek a test at one of the nearby testing stations that have been opened.
• The chemist is continuing to encourage our customers to use the Covid Tracer app to track their movements and allow for easier contact tracing.
No other shops or parts of the centre have been flagged by the Ministry of Health.
Medical officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink, said "the person was in the store for a short period of time and didn't have any close contact with other people during their time in to the store".
"The person checked into the store using the tracer app which is most useful as we know the exact time the person was in store".
The Ministry alerted other shoppers at the Chemist Warehouse who used the Covid tracer app.
"We are aware that people may be concerned if they were in the store at the same time as this person, even though the risk to other shoppers and staff is considered extremely low," he said.
"It's important to stress that this person didn't have any symptoms when they were in the store, and at that stage didn't know that they would later test positive for Covid-19.
"Anyone who is concerned and would like to be tested for Covid-19 is welcome to attend any of our community based Covid-19 testing centres – testing is free and no appointment is necessary. You don't need to have symptoms to qualify for free testing."
esting has confirmed the latest Christchurch community outbreak is connected to a Covid-19 strain that has infected international seamen isolating in the Garden City.
First health worker case linked to infected Russian seamen
Earlier today director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking genomic testing had showed an exact match with the infection found in five of the Russian and Ukrainian seamen who are at the Sudima Airport Hotel in managed isolation.
He said the results were linked to the first health worker who became ill. Despite testing negative for Covid on Thursday, the woman became symptomatic on Saturday and tested positive for Covid-19.
A second health worker working alongside the sick female health worker who is now isolating at home with a teenager, has since tested positive.
Bloomfield said the fact that the genomic testing linked the case back to the Sudima outbreak meant there was little fear of a fresh Covid strain unchecked in the community.
He said while there was strict infection control measures inside the facility incursions were always a possibility.
He added he had a high level of confidence the latest cases of health workers becoming infected did not pose a wider threat to others outside the quarantine facility.
With the prospect of other fishermen heading to New Zealand, Bloomfield said it was important to review the episode from before the men left their homeland and ascertain what happened to avoid a repeat of the situation which has left 31 men sick with Covid.
He said despite the men testing negative before their flight here it was obvious there was cross-contamination with an infected person at some point after the testing took place.
Bloomfield's comments follow a second person working at a managed isolation facility in Christchurch testing positive for Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health said last night the person is a close workplace contact of the case reported on Monday - a health worker at the Sudima Christchurch Airport hotel who tested positive for the virus.
"As the person works at the facility and is not a returnee they are treated as a community case," the ministry said in a statement.