Local gym member returns negative virus result

The Lioness Gym min Highland Park. Photo Nick Krause

A local woman who has unwittingly been caught up in the two new Covid-19 outbreaks has this morning returned a negative result for the virus.

The woman – a gym member at the Lioness Gym for Women in Highland Park – is friends with the two women this week confirmed with the coronavirus – the first confirmed cases after zero cases for 24 days. The gym woman’s identity remains anonymous.

The Ministry of Health yesterday released additional information about the journey between Auckland and Wellington taken by two New Zealanders with Covid-19 who returned to New Zealand from the United Kingdom to see their dying parent.

“Upon leaving the Novotel (Ellerselie) in a private vehicle provided by friends, the women became lost on the Auckland motorway system,” the Ministry said.

“On realising this they phoned the same friends who supplied the vehicle, who met and guided them to the correct motorway so they could go in the right direction. As part of this the pair were in limited physical contact with the two friends for approximately five minutes.

Gym classes and Lioness gym owner Felicia Alkin’s activities at the gym will be suspended until Alkin completes her 14 days of self-isolation. Photo Nick Krause

“These two people have been contacted by local health authorities for a health check. Both had already had a test for Covid-19 once they heard of the positive results and are in self isolation.”

Lioness gym owner Felicia Alkin confirmed the two women from the UK who are Covid-19 positive are friends with one of the gym’s members.

“Our member was in contact with the 2 girls last Saturday. The member of our Gym did not know that the girls were positive until yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon when she has called me straight away,” Alkin said on the gym’s Facebook page.

“On Saturday she (loaned) the car to the 2 girls to drive down to Wellington for the funeral. Initially the car was dropped to the hotel, however apparently the 2 girls got lost and my member had to meet with them to give them instructions. As soon as the 2 girls arrived to Wellington they have been asked to get tested again and yesterday (Tuesday) morning the results came positive.

“Since Saturday, after her contact with the 2 girls, our gym member did not visit the facility until yesterday morning (Tuesday) when she came for her training session with myself and stayed back for our group classes. Fortunate enough we still have the 2m mark down in our class studio, however my training sessions was hands on.”

Alkin this morning was a little more upbeat but cautious about the situation. “I would like to let you know that the test results of our member came (back) negative. She was told to self-isolate up to 48 hours. She decided to self-isolate up to 14 days. Apparently another test will be done only if she is not feeling well,” said Alkin.

“I will continue to self-isolate with my family up to 14 days and have ourselves tested within this period. I will speak to Covid-19 and (the) Minister of Health to seek their advice.

Gym classes and her activities at the gym would be suspended until Alkin completes her 14 days of self-isolation “and we have a 100% confirmation and clarity on the situation”.

“Until then, we are happy to assist you through online appointments with any questions you may have about our services,”Alkin told gym members.

“Feel free to contact (the) Minister of Health should you have any concerns. Updates will be provided as soon as we get them. Thank you for your cooperation and support.”

Alkin said in her email Facebook yesterday to gym members that she had contacted the Ministry of Health who advised her to go for testing with her family. However another MoH official advised her otherwise.

“I have been advised that I don’t need to do the test until I hear back from our member with the results of her test. I then asked what steps shall I do in terms of safety for our Gym as I thought to myself that I should not be in contact with anyone else and give heads up to our Gym community,” Alkin said.

“Minister (sic) of health adviced me that can continue with my normal activities until I’ll hear back the results of our member. I have asked them to discuss the matter with a senior/manager and get back to me. They did, and their answer did not change and they continue to advice me that I don’t need to make any announcement to our Gym members until we hear back the results of our member.”

Meanwhile Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown said in a media statement the news this week that two people were released early from their managed isolation and then tested positive for Covid-19 should anger New Zealanders but particularly those in Pakuranga who have potentially been exposed.

“It has since been revealed that a friend of the pair who tested positive attended a gym training session at the Highland Park Lioness Gym, the day after they were in close physical contact and possibly exposed.

“The gym is located in the heart of Pakuranga, with many members coming from around the electorate to train and socialise with fellow gym-goers and the session attended by the close contact was considered ‘hands on’.

“The potential for community transmission is too high to be taking risks like this and reported figures indicate there are over 300 people being contact-traced who could have been infected from just two people.

“This incident speaks to the incompetence surrounding the management of mandatory isolation, which at Level 1 is the only real measure protecting our country from further cases of Covid-19.

 “This whole situation should simply never have happened. The pair were reportedly not tested before being allowed out and it’s clear that Ministry of Health officials failed to do any sort of due diligence before approving their request to leave early.

 “As a result, hundreds of people in Pakuranga and across the North Island could have been exposed. COVID-19 is hard enough to contain without us helping it along the way.

 “I commend the owner of Lioness Gym who has placed themselves into isolation, despite being told it wasn’t necessary by the Ministry of Health.

“We’ve all sacrificed so much already and it’s time for the Government and the Ministry of Health to hold up their end of the bargain and sort this mess out. New Zealanders need to be able to trust our officials right now, so it’s imperative this doesn’t happen again.”