January 27, 2021
Waipareira sets pace for COVID testing
Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere says the west Auckland roopu’s response to the latest COVID-19 outbreak shows what can be done with good systems and planning.
Waipareira sent a mobile testing unit to Helensville, which had been visited by the Northland woman at the centre of the outbreak, and it also stepped up its testing centre at Whānau House in Henderson.
Long queues were reported at DHB testing centres in Northland after news of the case broke, but Mr Tamihere says no-one at the Waipareira units had to wait more than 45 minutes.
He says authorities should have been more prepared for the inevitable panic when a community outbreak occurs.
"They downsized testing dramatically and then you've got to wind it right back up again. What you run into is a panicked population, for good reason, and then because they've taken the testing capacity back, you've got to wind it back up pretty quick," Mr Tamihere says.
Waipareira decided a month ago to cancel its Waitangi at Waititi celebration because of the risks in bringing large groups together in the middle of a pandemic, and he expects other Waitangi events to be cancelled in coming days as authorities try to determine whether the three known positive cases coming out of managed isolation have spread the coronavirus through the community.
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