An event worker who helped at Soundsplash told Re: they weren’t advised of any Covid-19 health protocols before the festival.

Soundsplash has been identified as a location of interest after thousands attended the music festival in Hamilton last weekend. 

So far, the Ministry of Health has reported six cases of Covid-19 linked to the festival, but attendees have told media they know of more than 12 people who have tested positive, and a doctor is warning it could be a superspreader event.

The Ministry of Health has today confirmed a positive case in Hawke's Bay that is linked to Soundsplash. Yesterday it was announced five people in Auckland tested positive after attending the event  with one person confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said “I wasn’t asked to wear a mask and no one watched to make sure I scanned in".

“Very few vendor workers were wearing masks. I probably only saw a handful of people wearing masks the whole time.”

The event was held from January 21 to 23, when New Zealand was still under the Orange Covid setting. 

At Orange, events of any size are allowed to go ahead as long as the organisers check everyone there has a vaccine pass.

It’s not mandatory to wear face masks at events under Orange, but masks are mandatory inside retail businesses and food stores, and places like coffee carts and food trucks should follow the same rules as retail stores.

The worker said people were sharing drinks and vapes and huddling in crowds.

“A huge number of attendees will be returning to school next week and I feel they should get tested before doing so.”

There have been reports of unvaccinated people jumping fences to enter the venue, and some attendees have said their vaccine passes were not checked.

But other attendees have told media their vaccine passes were scanned and all workers were wearing masks.

In a statement on Thursday, Soundsplash Festival organisers and Mystery Creek Event Centre owners said the event was held in accordance with the Covid-19 protection framework, with all protocols strictly followed including the scanning of vaccine passes.

“There were minimal reports of individuals attempting to unlawfully enter the event, with Security having dealt to those who chose to put others at risk with their poor decisions, the small handful of instances were notified to the Police who were present at the event,” the statement said.

The organisers and venue owner encouraged attendees to follow the Ministry of Health’s advice to self-monitor for Covid symptoms, and get tested and stay home.

When Re: approached the organisers on Friday afternoon to ask about the event and the worker's claims that vendors were not wearing masks, the festival’s organisers said they had no further comment.

Soundsplash attendee Daniel Parker described the environment as “very much a festival,” with “not a lot of social distancing and not much care around sharing drinks and vapes with people”.

“There aren’t as many case numbers as I predicted there would have been by now.”

Daniel has received a negative Covid-19 test, but said he and his friends are laying low for the next week or so.

“I think we should all make a strong effort to get the booster shot going into an Omicron phase.

“It’s somewhat time to get back to normality, just like other countries are.”

Festival-goer Thomas Partington said everybody seemed to forget about Covid.

“The general vibe was really good and everyone seemed to have a good time enjoying the good weather.

“My friends and I weren’t concerned because we thought we’d be safe being double vaccinated.”

He was “a little bit nervous” but was reassured knowing everyone was fully vaccinated “and most of my mates and my test have all come back negative”.

Medical director of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Dr Bryan Betty, said Soundsplash could be a potentially large Omicron event in terms of spread.

“It has been labelled as a superspreader, which in this case that’s probably right.”

The Omicron variant may be widespread in the next one to two weeks, Dr Betty said.

It is important for anyone who attended to monitor symptoms for at least 10 days, and if any develop then to get tested and isolate immediately. This includes household contacts or family members that become symptomatic, Betty said.

Omicron symptoms are cold-like and the main ones are a sore throat, runny nose or sneezing.

Top Image: A music festival with lots of people attending. (File photo) Photo: iStock

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