April 21, 2020
Mobile testing stepped up in Tairawhiti
Areas with high rates of Māori population are being targeted for sentinel testing as the Health Ministry moves to fill gaps in its understanding of the possible spread of COVID-19.
The ministry has come under fire from some commentators for failing to test enough Māori, but its deputy director-general of Māori, John Whaanga, says since the criteria has widened beyond those displaying symptoms the Māori rate has crept up to 12.1 per thousand compared with 12.4 for non-Māori.
There is sentinel testing over the next week around Gisborne and in a mobile clinic in East Coast settlements run by Hauora Tairāwhiti, and there is also a mobile testing programme in Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Taranaki and Northland are also conducting tests.
"This testing is something that is going to be going on in some form or another for 9 to 12 months and certainly what we are working on with other parts of the ministry and the sector is how we do that in a way that recognises where our communities are and what it might take to get to them," Mr Whaanga says
Today’s combined total of new COVID-19 cases was 5, two confirmed and three probable, bringing the overall total to 1445.
There was also one death, a woman in her 70s who was one of six residents transferred last week from St Margaret’s Hospital and Rest Home in Te Atatu to Waitakere Hospital.
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