Confirmed COVID Cases Linked to Mt Wellington Americold Coolstore

A United States coolstore business at the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland delivers frozen goods to supermarkets and fast food outlets. As the community transmission cluster worsens across Auckland, eleven confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to the Mt Wellington site.

The first case to test positive, known as the index case, is a person in their 50s who lives in south Auckland and works at short-term loan provider Finance Now on Dominion Road in Mt Eden. The husband of the index case works at the coolstore facility owned by New York Stock Exchange-listed company Americold.

It was reported this morning that three more workers at the facility had tested positive for the virus. Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield then announced that seven family members of those workers also tested positive overnight. That brings the total associated with the facility to 11.

"It's not good. There's a lot of people awaiting test results, they've got families. There's a lot of anxiety and concern,” said Americold managing director Richard Winnall.

About half of the Mt Wellington workers had received test results and the rest were due soon while testing results at the company's Auckland Airport plant had all come back negative.

It was revealed yesterday that surface testing is under way at the Mt Wellington coolstore to determine if the virus could have been brought into the country on refrigerated goods. Winnall confirmed there had been an outbreak in the past week of two cases at the company's Melbourne facility but was adamant there was no link with the Mt Wellington cases.

He said surface testing was starting today and he believed the risk of transmission from surface contamination of refrigerated goods was improbable. Director of health Dr Bloomfield agreed that the risk was highly unlikely.