An Auckland taxi driver who tested positive for Covid-19 may have been contagious while transporting locked out essential workers.
Man wearing face mask driving a car. (File photo) Source: istock.com
By Rebecca Moore and Alan Kenyon
The driver, who is now in managed isolation with his family, does not know how he contracted the virus.
Co-op Taxis Auckland’s director of operations Shaun Williams told 1News on Monday that he was made aware of the positive case on Thursday, September 30. He said the company was contacted by both Auckland Regional Public Health and the driver himself that day.
The news comes after the Blue Bubble Taxi driver worked the night of Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25, until around 11 p.m. Then Sunday was her normal day off.
“He felt good on Sunday, he woke up on Monday, he said, he had a bit of a sore throat so he took a day off. Tuesday, same thing, still feeling sore so he took a day off. took a day off then went for a test done later that day and stayed on leave until the result was sadly positive on Thursday, ”said Williams.
“While he was sick he stayed away.”
Williams also said the driver did everything right – he received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and was booked to receive his second dose on Wednesday, October 6. He also wore a mask while driving, cleaning the car after every ride. and had no contact with any other driver.
But Williams said Auckland Regional Public Health believes he may have been contagious on the Friday and Saturday night he last worked.
“The vehicles all have their own QR codes anyway, so they had already extracted all of this information, but we also provided them with the work of our system just to make sure we captured them all because you are not. guaranteed, everyone has scanned, so it’s right there, and you tell them to do it and some people don’t have smartphones. “
Image file. Source: istock.com
He said they provided all the jobs for those two days and then after re-applying they provided details of trips before those two days to try and locate the driver’s point of infection.
“I think at this point it’s still a bit of a mystery where he’s from, he hasn’t been in contact with close contacts or anything like that, so they’re trying to work, d ‘trying to figure out where it came from.
“It’s unfortunate that he doesn’t know where he came from, but he reacted very well and I think there is no risk for any member of our fleet as he has not interacted with any other driver, our office is closed and everything was done over the phone as well, so there is no chance of interacting with the staff or anything. “
Williams said in his last conversation with the driver that his family, who are also part of MIQ, are getting tested, but have not heard from their test results. He plans to contact the driver later Monday.
When asked how the driver was doing, Williams said he was “surprisingly good” both physically and mentally.
“He said he was fine, he had a bit of a sore throat but he did really well to take the day off and get tested the next day while he was still there, but he said reading what some people get, he’s got it’s very moderate, so he’s in a really good mood. “
It is hoped that the effects of his mild infection will have been lessened by taking a dose of Pfizer jab.
Williams said of the company’s 900-person fleet, 400 people have been vaccinated.
“As a percentage it doesn’t seem that high, but last week I took a look at those who are operational, who are sort of working right now, because of Covid a lot of guys have chosen to take time off , so we have about, I think there were just under 300 drivers working – that’s just a snapshot of a day last week – and over 90% of those on the road have been fully vaccinated. “
He added that when booking a taxi, people have the option to request a vaccinated driver at no additional cost.
But Williams said the company wrote to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins in March, without a response, and then again in July, asking taxi drivers to be part of an earlier group to get vaccinated, but in July they were refused.
Hipkins’ office has been contacted for comment.
Contacted for more information on the taxi driver, a spokesperson for the Department of Health told 1News: “For reasons of confidentiality, to the extent possible, the Department of Health does not comment on cases or individual situations, unless there are compelling public health reasons to do so.
“Confirmed cases of Covid-19 are announced at 1 p.m. each day, unless there is an urgent public health need to do so earlier.”