Shortfalls Identified at MIQ Hotels

A Ministry of Health audit in May and June made nearly 150 recommendations across 32 hotels, with more than 100 recommendations made in February and March.

One hotel was forced to change how it organised supervised walks after more than 20 people were left waiting for a lift for more than 20 minutes in a combined space without supervision.

The audit from February and March said there were three security staff who were not actively supervising social distancing.

Names of the hotels have not been released.

A bus driver refused to wear eye protection and wore the incorrect type of face mask when transporting people back from an exercise area. The driver claimed he didn't know an N95 mask was required, despite bus services being notified.

Passengers were on the bus for more than an hour and the driver for longer.

The 40-minute bus ride was extended, and passengers had to wait on board for an extra 25 minutes while the hotel was deep-cleaned after a positive returnee was transferred.

Keith Thompson and his partner were in managed isolation from early March, but their MIQ stay was extended to four weeks after they were on a bus to an exercise area with someone who had Covid-19.

A briefing to the minister for Covid-19 response Chris Hipkins in April said 11 of the 13 facilities surveyed in February and March showed improvement, but two facilities had ongoing or increased risks.

There were six high-risk issues related to the use of personal protective equipment for staff and returnees, activities outside returnees' rooms and hotel cleaning processes.

But transport to exercise facilities was difficult, and both high and moderate risk problems were identified.

A bus driver was not wearing PPE, and a returnee walked through the hotel without a mask.

Over 20 issues were related to signage, hand sanitisation and activities outside returnees' rooms.

Head of managed isolation and quarantine brigadier Rose King said the audits were one way to ensure infection and prevention processes and procedures were being followed.

The audits were done quarterly to review procedures and identify and support improvements.

King said all surfaces and common areas were cleaned regularly, and a thorough and systematic cleaning process was followed between guests.

She added cleaning was done with hospital-grade detergents and disinfectants to reduce the risk of potential transmission and each facility had a plan to ensure guests and staff could move around in a way that minimised infection risk.

Staff were also educated through an infection prevention control training programme.