Testing of workers on Ken Rei ship near Napier was not planned, now they will be tested

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After the Ministry of Health announced they would not be testing the 21 workers onboard the Ken Rei ship anchored near Napier after a community case was announced on Sunday, the workers are now going to be getting tested.

Of the community case announcement from Sunday, the person is a ports worker and returned a positive test on Saturday afternoon. The man was likely to be infections on October 14 and 15 and stayed in New Plymouth at two different places, but they have since been deep cleaned.

The man lives in Auckland but also did work in New Plymouth. He drove to New Plymouth by himself on Tuesday, October 13, which means there is a limited number of close contacts.

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On Wednesday (October 14) he did some working at a ship at the port, he then checked into a different accommodation but then decided he’d travel back to Auckland on Wednesday evening and was at home on Thursday (October 15).

The 21 workers onboard the Ken Rei ship are close contacts of the marine electronics engineer who tested positive on Saturday.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the workers staying on the anchored ship ‘pose no risk to the community’ as they’re isolated, which is true to some extent. Still, now information reveals testing of the workers has been arranged privately.

The Doctors at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board were contacted by the Ken Rei ship’s charter company to test and collect COVID-19 swabs from the crew on-board the vessel anchored at sea, near Napier, earlier this afternoon.

A helicopter carrying a team from The Doctors will land on the ship, depending on the weather. The Doctors team will collect swabs from the ship crew.

Safety training for the medical team had happened for the last two days in preparation for the testing of the ship workers. Yet, the Ministry of Health never let the public know about this, that teams were training and preparing to test the ship workers.

However, the testing of workers on the ship was planned was because it was a ‘private agreement’ between the two organisations and there was no requirement from the DHB or the Ministry of Health to gather the swabs.

Medical Officer of Health Rachel Eyre says that from a public health intelligence perspective, the results will be ‘useful information’.

The Ministry of Health will be informed of any positive results that may appear in the coming weeks from the Ken Rei ship anchored near Napier.

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