April 19, 2020
Call for COVID testing in south Auckland
A doctor working on the Māori COVID-19 response is reasonably confident there is not a silent reservoir of coronavirus in the community – but sentinel testing needs to be ramped up to make sure.
But Dr Rawiri Jansen says there is no cause for alarm at this stage.
Last week National’s associate Health spokesperson, Dr Shane Reti, called for more testing of Māori because he fears many may not have got the message to report symptoms or get tested.
Dr Jansen says if Dr Reti was still holding clinics, he would not be seeing the cases of COVID-19 pneumonia that would indicate community transmission was rife.
"For me, I'd go 'Shane, let's be careful about that fear because fear is kind of contagious too.' I don't want to frighten people and make them think it's out there when it's not. I want people to be tested. If you've got symptoms, get tested, that's absolutely the right thing to do. And if you're not unwell, at this stage we're not testing them except for what we've started with Queenstown, with Christchurch, with Matamata. I think we're right to now place that demand and say we need that sentinel testing, test 300 please in south Auckland," Dr Jansen says.
Dr Jansen says World Health Organisation advice for coming out of lockdowns is that there should be a sustained reduction in cases over two weeks, contact tracing capability in case there are further breakouts, and a testing regime to determine whether there is any community transmission.
Community testing for COVID-19 was stepped up over the weekend, with more than 4000 tests processed on Saturday.
Yesterday 4146 COVID-19 tests were processed. The rolling 7-day average is 3151, and 83,224 total tests have been processed to date.
Stock in supply for testing is now over 90 thousand complete tests.
Waitemata DHB collected 442 samples from test sites at two supermarkets and reported no positives from 368 results in so far.
This is a similar pattern to results from areas such as Queenstown and Waikato, in communities chosen based on advice from the EPI TAG group.
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