An Auckland mother says her severely allergic son was fed a dessert containing nuts while in managed isolation - and his reaction was then treated as a symptom of Covid-19.
Mother-of-three Tania, who only wanted her first name used, said she and her family were taken to a quarantine facility for further Covid-19 testing after the incident, despite having all returned two negative tests.
She told the Herald that when the family entered managed isolation at the M Social Hotel, she clearly told staff that her 13-year-old son was severely allergic to nuts.
Were he to eat nuts, he could go into anaphylactic shock - a severe allergic reaction that can be deadly if not quickly treated with epinephrine, often in the form of an EpiPen.
But two nights before they were scheduled to leave the hotel, her child fell ill after eating a few mouthfuls of chocolate mousse for dessert.
"The mousse had a topping on it, like a biscuit crumble," she said.
"He started eating it and then he said 'Oh, this doesn't feel right'.
"I called the kitchen and they said the dessert had nuts on it, but by then he'd already eaten some."
Feeling unwell, he went to sleep, only to be up a few hours later.
"Three to four hours after eating it he vomited, which he usually does when he has ingested nuts," she said.
A nurse came to their room the next morning, to check on the 13-year-old, who had barely slept and had spent much of the night being sick.
His temperature was normal, but because he had vomited - a lesser known symptom of Covid-19 - Tania was told the family would be moved to a quarantine facility for further testing.
They had all returned two negative Covid-19 tests by then, the latest only two days prior.
In a sleepless fog, Tania said she then realised then that the nuts could've made him ill.
"He was perfectly fine until that [eating the mousse], and everyone else was fine.
"If I was even a normal guest at the hotel and my son was given nuts then I would be beside myself but now ... When you see you son given something that is out of control it just tips you over.
"I would've taken him to the hospital. I've done this a few times over the years over his life and I know him pretty well."
It followed another incident of a dessert containing nuts being delivered to their room - a brownie, that Tania only discovered her son could not eat when she called the kitchen to double-check.
"Right from the outset I made it very clear to the nurses and the kitchen and staff that my son is anaphylactic to nuts and I have EpiPens for emergencies," she said.
"The issue with the hotel that they missed nuts on two occasions and one occasion he ingested it."
Tania wanted to share the "terrifying experience" in the hopes that no other parent would go through such a thing.
Her son was still out of sorts in the days following the incident, she said.
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A Covid-19 All of Government response group spokeswoman said that the child was identified as having an allergy to nuts when the family entered managed isolation.
That information was recorded by managed isolation staff as part of an entry survey guests fill out, which identifies dietary requirements for the isolation facility to follow.
"We have looked into the claims, and based on the information available we have found no indication that the meals served contained nuts or nut products," she said.
"When the child became ill, an assessment was undertaken by a nurse who determined that they were displaying two symptoms of Covid-19.
"As a consequence, the family were moved to a quarantine facility which was entirely appropriate given the potential health risk."
Tania said their family spent a further night in isolation at the Jet Park Hotel, where her son, who had spent the day in bed, was finally seen by a doctor and given antihistamine.
All four again tested negative for Covid-19 and were allowed to return home last Tuesday.
If a potential case of Covid-19 is identified in a managed isolation facility that person, as well as any close or casual contacts, are immediately isolated, the All of Government response group spokeswoman said.
"While this may have been an inconvenience to the family, the step was taken to ensure the safety of all of the returnees and staff in the facility."
M Social Hotel did not respond to requests for comment.