January 26, 2021
Faster coronavirus test in spitting distance
National’s health spokesperson Shane Reti wants saliva testing to be made available in Northland to increase the number of people being tested for COVIID-19.
The tests were started yesterday for workers in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
They are not as accurate as the nasal swabs, which the MIQ workers must still take weekly, but they may mean cases can be detected earlier before they can be passed on to others.
Dr Reti says the long waits at testing stations in Northland yesterday were unacceptable, and more resources need to be thrown at the problem – including the less invasive saliva tests.
"I can test a lot more people more quickly with saliva testing than with nasal swabs. I think those saliva tests should urgently come to Northland so that we can do a more rapid job of identifying those who may or may not be coronavirus positive," he says.
COVID Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the Ministry of Health will report back on the role and effectiveness of saliva testing in early March.
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