April 01, 2020
Testing will reveal true pandemic spread among Maori
A member of the Māori pandemic response group Te Rōpu Whakakaupapa Urutā says the extension of testing should give a better sense of the potential spread of the coronavirus into Māori communities.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday announced the loosening of testing criteria, and more community-based testing centres have been set up including at Waipareira’s Whānau House in Henderson, Airport Oaks Clinic in Mangere and a Pacific-oriented centre at Langimalie Health Centre in Panmure.
Dr Rawiri Jansen says up to now testing has targeted people who returned from overseas and those connected with them.
That means not many Māori have been tested, but that will change.
"Community-based assessment centres are set up in places that will have pretty good proximity, nice and close to and close to communities with lots of Maori and Pacific people. Most of those centres are dealing with 50 or 80 patients a day, quite manageable. We can do more as soon as we know all the tests and labs are ready to process 5000 a day, but that is going to be soon," Dr Jansen says.
He says the data from testing is needed to plan what should happen if the virus does get into what is know the be a highly vulnerable community.
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