Two more Mt Eden prisoner contacts test positive for Covid

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Sep 2021, 2:25PM
The prisoner caught Covid after being bailed from Mt Eden prison. (Photo / NZME)
The prisoner caught Covid after being bailed from Mt Eden prison. (Photo / NZME)

Two more Mt Eden prisoner contacts test positive for Covid

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Sep 2021, 2:25PM

Two more close contacts connected to an infected Auckland prisoner have now also tested positive for Covid.

The prisoner caught Covid after being bailed from Mt Eden prison to an address north of Kaiaua in the Upper Hauraki on September 8.

At least three household contacts from the Whakatīwai address have since been found to have tested positive for the virus.

Now two more close contacts have also tested positive, the Ministry of Health said.

"The household contacts of the individual who was released to Upper Hauraki and who tested positive - plus two other close contacts who also subsequently tested positive - are all in managed isolation," a ministry spokesman said.

Contact tracers originally believed the man - a patched Black Power member - most likely caught Covid from someone who drove him from Mt Eden remand prison to his Upper Hauraki address.

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently told TVNZ that he didn't necessarily catch Covid from the people driving with him.

"The working hypothesis is that the individual was infected by a close contact and the individual's infectious period was while they were at their bailed address in Upper Hauraki, which helped limit any spread," a ministry spokesman said today.

A woman, who told the Herald she was a close contact of the prisoner's girlfriend, feared there could be much wider undetected spread of the virus in South Auckland.

She said this morning she and another resident at her Manukau emergency housing were being taken into managed isolation by Ministry of Health officials.

She and the other resident had yesterday been in isolation in their rooms waiting for their Covid test results to come back, she said.

She said the inmate's girlfriend had now tested positive and was in managed isolation with her two children.

The Ministry of Health was yet to confirm this.

The woman said it was the inmate's girlfriend, who named her as a close contact after they had spent time in recent weeks staying in the same emergency housing room together.

She said health teams are now investigating whether it was the man's girlfriend, who carried the virus to Whakatīwai in a separate car to the inmate, meaning he wasn't infected on the drive down as had been earlier thought.

The Ministry of Health did not directly answer this when it was put to them.

The woman told the Herald she was worried about wider virus spread in Auckland because she had been having symptoms for a few weeks.

She said there were more than 40 rooms at her emergency housing placement and those staying there had been interacting throughout level 4.