12:30 p.m. – The isolation center run by Crowne Plaza is ready to receive returnees from Thursday.
MIQ’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has recommended that the Crowne Plaza can receive its next cohort of returnees on September 9, as scheduled.
Joint Chief of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Brigadier Rose King said it followed a thorough investigation of sources by public health experts, further assessment of infection prevention and control and to a review of the public aisles next to the establishment.
“The TAG’s findings and the additional assurance review confirm that the facility’s procedures and ventilation meet relevant IPC standards and that the risk to passing members of the public is so low that it is negligible,” she declared.
“From a public health perspective, we believe the Crowne Plaza can safely resume welcoming returnees,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director General of Health.
“An Auckland Regional Public Health Service investigation into the source of the current community outbreak has concluded that transmission to a member of the public walking in the public atrium of the Crowne Plaza is highly unlikely.”
Brigadier King says modeling by engineers at the University of Canterbury suggests the risk of transmission to members of the public if an infectious case were in the lobby of the facility is very low.
“The TAG also concluded that the risk to members of the public walking in the public atrium is ‘negligible’ and that there was no reason or justification for closing the public atrium,” said Brigadier King.
“While the investigation into the source was ongoing, a number of precautionary measures were taken, including extending the height of the plexiglass barrier between the lobby and the adjacent public atrium to the ceiling where it was sealed.
The TAG’s review also took into account the walkway near the returnee fresh air area, which the public uses to access the Huawei center. It found that the risk of exposure for members of the public walking past the returnees upon arrival at the facility or while they were access to fresh air was “very low” and there was little public health or PCI reason for closing this area.
“Although the risk was judged to be very low, out of prudence, we made the decision to raise the wall of the gangway and place a roof on top. The roof and the wall of the structure will be covered with a plastic coating. . “
Minor recommendations for improvement included additional signage to remind returnees to disinfect their hands, increased signage for red or green areas reserved for staff, and for all of these transition areas to have PPE posts. These will be implemented before the establishment welcomes returnees on said the king.
In addition, the vaccination center in the atrium is moving to a larger location at 35 Graham Street, with the capacity to vaccinate 1,000 people per day, approximately 400 more than the current site.