Covid-19: Wainuiomata swimming pool is closed, as five new cases are announced in Greater Wellington

Hutt City Council posted an alert on its website early Tuesday afternoon that the Wainuiomata Summer Pool was closed for cleaning, due to a positive case of Covid-19.  (File photo)

123RF/Supplied

Hutt City Council posted an alert on its website early Tuesday afternoon that the Wainuiomata Summer Pool was closed for cleaning, due to a positive case of Covid-19. (File photo)

A person who tested positive for Covid-19 swam at a public pool in Wainuiomata last week, but the pool was not designated as a place of interest, leaving a regular swimmer wondering if she had been exposed.

There are five new cases of Covid-19 in Wellington today, including one in the Hutt Valley – all of whom are household contacts of existing cases, according to the Department of Health. This brings the total number of cases in the Wellington region to 24 – including 19 in the Capital and Coast region and five in the Hutt Valley.

There are also eight new cases today in Hawke’s Bay, four of which are linked to Te Mata Primary School in Havelock North, where more than 50 pupils are considered close contacts.

RNZ

Cases are being treated as Omicron and DHB staff in Hawke’s Bay are following several close contacts.

Hutt City Council posted an alert on its website early Tuesday afternoon that the Wainuiomata Summer Pool was closed for cleaning, due to a positive case of Covid-19.

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“The cleanup was undertaken after Regional Public Health informed us that someone who tested positive for Covid-19 visited the pool last week,” the statement said.

But when the person frequented the pool remained a mystery.

Annette Nesdale, regional medical officer for public health, said she assessed the person’s presence at the pool and found it to be “very low risk as the pool is an outdoor environment.”

“Based on this, the site is not considered a place of interest,” she said.

“As a precaution, we informed pool staff of the visit and asked them to monitor for symptoms. Due to the low risk, there are no specific instructions to provide to others at the pool at the time.

The pool operator decided to close and clean the pool out of an abundance of caution, she said.

Nesdale encouraged anyone with symptoms to call Healthline and get tested.

Those wishing to swim at Wainuiomata today will have to swim at Days Bay, while the public pool remains closed (file photo)

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

Those wishing to swim at Wainuiomata today will have to swim at Days Bay, while the public pool remains closed (file photo)

Vicki Cordier, a rural resident of Wainuiomata, said she went to the pool around 4:30 p.m. Monday for her regular 2-kilometre swim to find a sign saying it was closed. She called the council, who told her it had been closed since 9:30 a.m. Monday.

She was still trying to get clear answers this morning, fearing she had been exposed, but couldn’t get anyone to tell her when the exposure window was.

Cordier said she was living in a cellphone reception blackout, so feared she might not receive an alert on her phone via the Covid Tracer app.

“I told them ‘it’s now been 24 hours since you closed a public building’, and they said we were bound by the rules of the Ministry of Health.

Cordier attended the pool on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of last week towards the end of the day, and on Friday there were about six other people swimming, ”she said.

“If the department knew enough to shut down a swimming pool, they know enough to tell people.”

The pools required vaccine passes to enter, Cordier said, but she was still nervous about being exposed.

Covid-19 vaccine passes are required to enter the Wainuiomata Public Pool.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH/Provided

Covid-19 vaccine passes are required to enter the Wainuiomata Public Pool.

The council statement said staff were following advice to self-monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 for 10 days.

The pool will reopen at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

Two of Hutt Valley’s five active cases were announced Monday, which were still under investigation at the time.

Hutt City Council’s senior communications adviser, Jeremy Brick, confirmed that the person who tested positive after visiting the pool was not a member of staff.

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