August 26, 2020
Mixed messages on COVID testing need fix
A member of the COVID-19 Surveillance and Testing Strategy Group would like to see better communication around who needs to be tested and when.
South Auckland GP Dr Rawiri Jansen is the clinical director of the National Hauora Coalition and a co-leader of Māori pandemic response group Te Rōpu Whakakaupapa Urutā.
He joins public sector troubleshooters Sir Brian Roche and Heather Simpson, Pasifika GP Dr Api Talemaitoga and University of Otago Professor Philip Hill on the group, which will provide additional advice to the Government as it tries to manage both a pandemic and an election.
He says the country is moving from the surge in testing that comes with an outbreak to a monitoring position where there need to be lots of tests of people who don’t have symptoms.
"If we just go on and off switch it is frustrating. As a member of the community you are getting told 'if you haven't got symptoms we aren't testing you,' and then a short time later there is the wagging finger going 'you're all complacent, you've all got to be tested whether you have symptoms or not.' I can see the sense of both of those things but it would be helpful if we had communications which really resonated with our community," Dr Jansen says.
He says the medical complications associated COVID-19 means it is essential to keep it from spreading.
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