Covid-19: Mystery remains as to how Delta got out into the community
Six people who were in the atrium of the Crowne Plaza while the source case was in its lobby have all returned negative day 12 results, leaving a question mark around the potential transmission of the Covid-19 Delta variant into the community.
The outbreak has been linked to a recent returnee from New South Wales who was taken to the Crowne Plaza managed isolation facility.
Last week, it was revealed six people were in the atrium – a thoroughfare at the facility – while the MIQ case was in the hotel’s lobby.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health said all six people who were in the Crowne Plaza lobby at the same time as the earliest identified case had received negative day 12 results.
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There are now a total of 562 cases linked to the current outbreak.
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said there was still a missing piece in the puzzle.
“We have got the source case, who has infected people in the room next to them. At what point did it get into the community?” Baker said.
The returnee believed to be the source of the outbreak arrived on a managed red zone flight from New South Wales on August 7, arriving at the Crowne Plaza between 10pm and 11pm.
They soon returned a positive Covid-19 test and were transferred to the Jet Park quarantine facility days after arriving.
The epidemiologist said it always seemed like a “long shot” that the source case would infect a person walking through the public walkway.
However, there needed to be further investigation into other areas of potential transmission including the source case’s flight and its air crew, transport from the airport to the hotel and then the three people the source case infected.
“All these possibilities need to be excluded,” Baker said.
He said the movements of the family who were in a nearby room should be looked at again to see if there were any potential exposures with the public.
While the source of the last two outbreaks were never found, this time “we have come closer” as the date of the virus arriving is known.
“It is concerning because we want to close off the transmission,” Baker said.