A maintenance worker at a managed isolation facility at the Rydges Hotel in Auckland has tested positive for Covid-19.
The man is not linked to the existing Auckland August cluster which has 98 people linked to it; all of whom are in quarantine.
The worker tested positive on Sunday, August 16, after symptoms for the virus starting from August 11.
He was transferred to the Jet Park Hotel quarantine facility yesterday, the Ministry of Health said in a statement before the usual 1pm press conference.
Contact tracing and testing have not connected any further cases to the worker.
However, he does have close contacts after attending two Emmanuel Cook Islands Good News Fellowship services on the morning and evening of August 9.
As of last night, all but nine of them had been tested and the remainder will be tested today. All are in self-isolation.
Deep cleaning of the school hall where the service is held is under way.
Six close contacts he worked with at Rydges have been identified and are all self-isolating, the ministry says.
All have returned negative results from surveillance testing last week, however, as a precaution all staff and returnees at Rydges are being retested again.
To date, the maintenance worker remains a single case.
The worker did not have any routine contact with guests but genome sequencing shows a returnee from the USA with the same sequence as the maintenance worker.
The returnee stayed at the hotel from July 28 to July 31 before they returned a positive test on day three of their stay.
The traveller was moved immediately to the Jet Park quarantine facility on July 31 after the positive test.
There is no obvious person-to-person connection between the worker and the returnee from the US, however, investigations are ongoing.
"Initial reviews of CCTV footage and swipe card movements so far show no interaction between the two people including no entry to physical locations occupied by the returnee from the USA," the ministry said.
"The room the USA returnee was in has been unoccupied since the case was transferred to the Jet Park quarantine facility and is still empty.
"The room underwent hospital-grade cleaning with hydrogen peroxide vapour sanitation using a BioQuell machine."
Forty-five hotel staff members and 54 guests were tested yesterday, the remainder will be tested today.
Three household close contacts of the worker are all in self-isolation and have been tested.
"Health officials are currently assessing if environmental testing at the Rydges would provide any further insight, however, the frequent deep cleansing of the facility means this is most likely not possible," the ministry said.
Meanwhile, another result has confirmed a separate case is connected to the Auckland August cluster.
Further genome sequencing and matching is being completed today and further analysis is expected later, the ministry said.
The maintenance worker carried out tasks on vacant rooms between bookings, following full infection prevention and controls, including the use of PPE.
The ministry says all staff have been tested since the Auckland outbreak and as a precaution, they are all being retested.
Returnees are also undergoing testing and in some cases are being retested now.
Actions undertaken at the Rydges Managed Isolation Facility
As soon as the positive test was established a series of actions were undertaken immediately at Rydges including:
• The hotel was put into immediate lockdown on Sunday morning, as soon as the positive test was returned.
• Thorough cleaning of shared areas of the hotel was carried out.
• Close contacts of the staff member identified and put into self-isolation until tested (noting that this staff member was not in a public-facing role).
• Lockdown of guests in hotel lifted once cleaning completed and close contacts identified.
• Close analysis of movements were undertaken, including: Review of CCTV, Review of room entry data to look for connection to cases.
• Genomic Sequence sought from ESR.
• Health advice sought.
• Further testing of all returnees and staff undertaken.
• Confirmation that infection prevention controls have been followed.
• Normal procedures resumed.