Mongrel Mob members in Auckland are isolating after a young woman discharged herself from Middlemore Hospital and went to the gang's pad where she lives while waiting for a Covid-19 test result.
The woman entered the hospital's emergency department on Thursday with a health issue unrelated to Covid-19, and her answers to screening questions indicated she had no symptoms or had not visited any locations of interest.
She was admitted to the short-stay ward, consented to a Covid-19 test, but the Ministry of Health claimed she discharged herself from hospital before the result came back as positive.
The patient disputes she discharged herself and says that once she was given medication, hospital staff told her she could leave as they were short of beds.
The young woman was living at the Mongrel Mob Pasifika gang pad on Mill Rd in Takanini, and once found, was taken into the quarantine facility at Jet Park.
A mobile testing station was set up outside the Mill Rd address and a member of the gang who was there also tested positive and went into managed quarantine, sources said.
Several others tested negative but are in self-isolation.
Police and the Ministry of Health then moved to establish a joint contact tracing team over the weekend to work with members of the chapter, which is a part of the Mongrel Mob Kingdom led by Sonny Fatupaito in Hamilton.
Although gang members often distrust police or health authorities, Fatupaito said he was encouraging his members to "cooperate, get tested and isolate with whanau".
"Like all of Aotearoa we want to eliminate Covid-19 in our communities and that's why we are cooperating and supporting the Government's Delta strategy," Fatupaito said.
"There are a lot of stressed families because of the uncertainty of Delta but we're hanging in there."
The Covid-19 Delta outbreak has highlighted inequity in New Zealand's healthcare system and Fatupaito said the Mongrel Mob was working closely with social agencies South Seas Healthcare and The Cause Collective to support whanau who are isolating.
He was particularly grateful to Danny Leaoasavai'i - better known as Dawn Raid founder and rapper Brotha D - who as a close supporter and friend of the Mongrel Mob Kingdom was leading the gang's management of Covid among members in South Auckland.
Before the Delta outbreak, Fatupaito said the gang planned to hold a Covid-19 education workshop for members and their whanau in Kirikiriroa supported by Dr Rawiri Jansen, the clinical director of the the National Hauora Coalition and Waikato-based Māori health provider Te Kohao Health.
"Our battle has been against misinformation, and I have encouraged our people to do their research, highlighting that 'research is NOT: Googling, scrolling your Facebook newsfeed, or watching YouTube or 4Chan to search for the results you are hoping to find to be 'true'," Fatupaito said.
"As soon as it is practicable the Kingdom will hold our Covid-19 education workshop as planned, including a pop-up vaccination site for members wanting to vaccinate themselves and their whanau."
Police and the Ministry of Health declined to answer questions about the community cases of Covid-19 involving the Mongrel Mob.
Seven police officers who came into close contact with the young woman, whose positive test led to the discovery of the Mongrel Mob case, and a close family member have been stood down from duty as a precaution.
For privacy reasons, police would not say what the interaction between the Counties Manukau staff and the young woman was about. The contact happened on Wednesday last week, the day before she went to Middlemore Hospital and later tested positive.
The police staff have returned negative Covid-19 tests. For privacy reasons, a police spokesman would not say whether the affected staff were vaccinated.
He referred questions about the contact tracing efforts for the Mongrel Mob cases to the Ministry of Health.
For privacy reasons, a spokesman said the Ministry of Health does not comment on individual cases or situations.
"Auckland Regional Public Health Service and other health agencies continue to work with iwi and Pacific social service providers to reach communities on a range of Covid-19 issues, including vaccination and testing.
"ARPHS contact tracing teams report a good level of cooperation from cases and contacts linked to the current outbreak."