Covid 19 coronavirus delta outbreak: Auckland’s Crowne Plaza MIQ – two wanted in investigation into source of outbreak


There are 35 new cases of Covid-19 in the New Zealand community to be confirmed today. Of these, 33 are in Auckland and two in Wellington. Video / NZ Herald

An investigation into the source of the outbreak centered on Auckland’s Crowne Plaza MIQ has so far failed to uncover how the virus spread from the suspected ‘main case’ in the community, as authorities are trying to find two people.

Health officials are examining an atrium artery inside the Crowne Plaza building, as it was used by six people when the first identified case of the outbreak was in the lobby of the nearby hotel.

Of those six, four had been tested and three had so far returned negative tests. The fourth person is getting one.


“There are still two people to be identified, whom the police are assisting,” the health ministry said today.

Although the space between the MIQ and the taxiway was divided, the ministry said there was still the possibility of airflow between the two spaces.

“The case was confirmed to be indoors with a very small number of people walking through the open walkway, which is well ventilated.”

The ministry clarified that the artery was not the exterior gateway used to access the neighboring Huawei center.

So far, the source investigation has focused on the Crowne Plaza, where the infected traveler arrived on August 7, and the quarantine facility at the Jet Park Hotel, where they were transferred after testing positive on August 7. August 8.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday transmission of border staff in the community had been “almost ruled out as a possibility” as more than 400 staff from both facilities returned tests negative.

While the “main case” was also transferred to Middlemore hospital on August 16, this site had been essentially excluded from the investigation as the case entered care just a day before the lockdown, and a few days after other cases of the outbreak became symptomatic.

The main case was also genomically linked to three other positive cases that were in a family bubble staying in the next room.

Due to the link between these cases, authorities quickly set up post-departure testing on the fifth day for returnees who were at the Crowne Plaza and who were on the same floor and whose stay overlapped the infectious period of this original. . Case.

University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said it remains to be seen whether the hotel’s family bubble – which tested positive on its Day 12 test – had been able to to transmit the virus in one way or another.

Specifically, he asked if the family had used the hotel’s exercise area after becoming infected.

“The [primary] the case must have been very contagious when they were in that two-day period between their arrival at the hotel and their transfer to Jet Park, ”he said.

“We also know that the incubation period can be as short as four days with Delta – so indeed, other people could become contagious after a very short time.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today that the infected traveler did not visit the exercise area himself, leaving the atrium area as the focus.

“We are keeping the investigative leads open for now.”

This included reviewing all movements and images, as well as the staff.

“But there is nothing to report at this time.”

When asked why the Crowne Plaza was still open, Ardern said the issue was not yet established, but that additional precautions were being considered during the investigation.

Baker said many people would also wonder how much of a link there is in the chain of infection between the primary case that arrived in the country on August 7 and the confirmation of the virus in “index case” or “Case A” – a 58- a man from Devonport, 10 days later.

While the two cases had been genomically matched, in large epidemics scientists could find multiple genomes of identical viruses without being able to infer the direction of transmission.

The media also learned today that authorities had detected cases that would have preceded the infection of Case A, which itself was a relatively early case in the larger outbreak.

Based on our understanding of the outbreak so far, Covid-19 modeler Professor Shaun Hendy expected there to be probably two stages between primary and index cases.

Would it matter if we found these missing strings?

“Overall, probably not – but if we can absolutely determine that, it could give us an indication of another chain that has yet to be detected,” he said.

“But it’s more and more unlikely now, given the amount of surveillance that has been done – and it becomes less important the more time we spend at Alert Level 4.”

Baker and Hendy agreed on the real benefit of finding out the full picture of how the virus has spread by improving the system to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Concerns had already been expressed about the possibility of the virus escaping from the Crowne Plaza to nearby access spaces. One person told Newsroom last week that it was an “epidemic waiting to happen.”

Baker added that the outbreak should prompt a rethinking of how New Zealand has handled the risk of Covid-19.

“The big takeaway for me is that if we’re going to have by the end of the year – a critical time when we’re scaling up vaccination – we really need to see how we can reduce the number of infected people coming in. New Zealand.

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