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The Ministry of Health is strengthening its testing and putting it forward as an immediate focus as part of surveillance testing in healthcare, border, quarantine and essential workers.
The most recent community outbreak saw a significant spike of cases emerge in a short period of time within the Auckland region due to the Delta variant. Those that were in contact with other cases, symptomatic or been in locations of interest were prioritised for testing.
Confidence is key to ensuring there is no undetected community transmission while protecting the rest of the country from further outbreaks.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said to thisquality in a press release it is crucial to get a test if symptoms of the virus appear.
“Let me reiterate the most important thing for anyone in Auckland, and of course particularly anyone who is travelling out of Auckland, is to stay home if they have any Covid-19 related symptoms and get tested,” he said.
Employers and essential workers will be supported by the Ministry of Health which is working closely to ensure those who feel unwell are staying home, getting a test and waiting for the results to return.
Healthcare workers, most importantly, are set to be facing more regular testing protocols — particularly those that care for or work in units where patients have Covid-19 — immediate and ongoing testing will be common. In addition, all workers in quarantine facilities in Auckland will be required to have twice weekly testing.
Government agencies are working closely with employers who have workers crossing the boundary for the region. Workers will have to take weekly testing to ensure there's no community transmission as a precautionary. They will be required to show proof of having a test.
Health and partner agencies are working through the details to introduce a new proof system. Email or text messaging is likely a factor that will be used to confirm whether the person has had a test within the last seven days.
Essential workers, as a result of this testing, do not require staying at home while awaiting results — If they have symptoms, they'll have to stay home.
On top of the processes described there will be spot checks at the border will ensure essential workers get their weekly tests done.
These measures will end the Delta outbreak over the next few weeks, and efforts must be maintained to get back to normality. Starting from 11.59pm on Thursday, September 9.
Dr Bloomfield added stamping out the Delta outbreak is important so Alert Levels can be moved down.
“I know we’re asking a lot of Aucklanders at the moment, and I recognise that these additional testing requirements might be inconvenient and indeed unwelcome for many,” Dr Bloomfield said.
“I want to reiterate how important it is, and that the sole purpose is to ensure that we stamp out this Delta outbreak and Auckland can move down Alert Levels as quickly and as safely as possible.”
“Thank you to Aucklanders for everything you’ve done to date – it is making a difference, so let’s see it through.”
Image: SUPPLIED/Sam Hudson [Dr Ashley Bloomfield – Ministry of Health, Wellington]
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