September 07, 2021
Ministry shifts to surveillance testing for Covid delta
The Health Ministry wants weekly Covid tests for any essential workers whose jobs involve crossing the Auckland boundary.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says its approach to testing is changing as it tries to mop up Auckland’s delta Covid-19 outbreak.
He says lockdown has effectively stopped the spread of all respiratory illnesses, greatly reducing demand for tests.
The focus will shift to increased surveillance testing in healthcare, border, quarantine and essential workers.
There will be more regular surveillance testing for healthcare workers who’ve cared for or worked in units with COVID-19 patients.
All workers in Auckland quarantine facilities will be tested twice weekly, and government agencies will work with employers who have workers who are crossing the Auckland boundary to put in place weekly testing of these workers.
Because this is surveillance testing, people will not be required to stand down or stay at home while awaiting their result – unless of course they have symptoms.
There is no cost for essential workers who get a test for this purpose.
Health services will maintain a network of testing sites available across Auckland to ensure timely access for treatment, including for Māori and Pasifika communities.
Auckland DHBs will continue to move some testing centres to areas where there have been cases in the previous few days – particularly in South and West Auckland.