A woman who stayed at the Novotel Ellerslie in Auckland at the same time as New Zealand’s two new positive Covid-19 cases says she wasn’t made to do a Covid-19 test before she left the hotel.
The woman, who didn’t want to be named, says she was staying at the hotel with her family, and left on Saturday June 13, the same day two women arriving from the UK were allowed to leave for Wellington for compassionate reasons.
She says earlier in her two-week stay, she and other guests struggled to get a Covid-19 test, even when they offered to pay for one.
During her stay, the Government’s policy around Covid-19 testing changed.
“From today everyone in managed isolation will be tested twice for Covid-19 and will require a negative result before they leave,” Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said on June 9.
Three days before she left the hotel, the woman says she received a call to her room asking if she’d like to do a Covid-19 test.
She says she was told it was optional.
“They said you can do it, but you don’t have to do it,” the woman said.
She says her children weren’t tested because the option for testing her children was never mentioned, and she “didn’t see the point” of getting tested if not everybody in the hotel had to do it.
“If they’re not going to test everyone, what’s the point?” she said.
Like many other people 1 NEWS has spoken to, the woman also had concerns about social distancing at the hotel, which she says was not strictly adhered to.
“‘We ended up being mixed with so many other people ... we had lots of contact with staff, with people from other flights,” she said.
“The staff weren’t wearing masks and neither were the residents. There were big gatherings in the carpark.”
The woman says those working at the hotel, which included the Army, Navy, Customs, and Ministry of Health staff, had a stronger focus on keeping Covid-19 out of the hotel than they did on keeping a potential case contained within it.
“They were really pushy on certain rules, if somebody orders food from the outside, it is all wiped down and cleaned, but they are supposed to be protecting New Zealanders from us.”
In a press conference today Dr Bloomfield said a negative Covid-19 test result is mandatory before people leave isolation.
“Whatever the circumstance, the test should be done and a negative test result is a requirement of release,” he said.
“The message has gone out to all facilities that they must have had a test before they go for whatever reason.”
Were you in managed isolation at the Novotel Ellerslie recently? Or do you have a story about being in managed isolation? Please contact reporter Kristin Hall on firstname.lastname@example.org