More Than 27,000 People Tested For COVID-19 Since Sunday
More than 27,000 people across the Northern Region have undergone COVID-19 testing since Sunday’s move to Alert Level 3.
In total, 27,412 people had been tested as at 4pm, with more than 11,000 of these Māori or Pacific (4023 Māori, 7302 Pacific).
This ranks as the region’s second-busiest COVID-19 testing period on record following the peak levels set during the Auckland outbreak in August 2020.
The Northern Region is comprised of four district health board (DHB) areas – Northland, Waitematā, Auckland and Counties Manukau, with a combined population of more than 1.8 million.
Northern Region Health Coordination Centre Lead (and Counties Manukau Health CEO) Margie Apa said the high volume of testing undertaken should provide reassurance that every effort was being made to detect COVID-19 in the community.
“People can be confident that if there was any COVID in the community, it would have been detected through this intensive testing period.
“The fact that it hasn’t – outside of the limited number of positive cases confirmed through close contact tracing – should reassure the public and provide comfort about the move back to Alert Level 2.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the outstanding effort of the Papatoetoe High School community who have come out in large numbers to get a test.
“Everyone in the school community – staff, students and household members – has been asked to get a test. If you have not had a test since Monday 15th February, please do so as soon as you can.”
The pop-up testing centre at the school will remain open this weekend and nearby community testing centres will be operating extended hours to ensure the school community has convenient access to testing.
Ms Apa said it was particularly pleasing to see that just under half of all those tested were Māori or Pacific as it highlighted the success of ongoing efforts to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 testing.
She also praised the Pasifika communities of South Auckland, where the recent positive cases have been concentrated, for taking up the opportunity to be tested in large numbers.
Around half of the samples taken since Sunday have been collected via community testing centres and pop-up clinics, with the balance via a network of around 380 general practices and urgent care clinics across the region.
Ms Apa thanked the primary care sector for its significant contribution to the testing volumes and also recognised the efforts of laboratory teams across the city to process so many samples in such a concentrated period.
“This has been a true team effort and it shows that our systems are now well-established and ready to respond in the event of any further periods where increased testing is required,” she said.
“On Monday 14 February alone, we saw more than 11,000 tests completed following the move to Level 3, demonstrating the ability of the health sector to respond quickly during periods of increased concern.
“It is also important to recognise the response of the public over recent days – the health system can only test people who come forward and the figures show people have not hesitated to do so.”