Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Contact tracing data missing; past performance terrible


“Where is the Ministry of Health’s contact tracing performance results for February, and did they achieve the ‘gold standard’ of 80 per cent of community contacts isolated or in quarantine within four days from exposure, based on Dr Ayesha Verrall’s audit of contact tracing last April,” asks ACT Leader David Seymour.

“It’s March, and the whole of February is missing from the COVID-19 contact tracing ‘indicator reports’ section of the Ministry of Health’s website.

“The previous reported period, 15 – 28 January, was posted on 1 February. This lack of disclosure is outrageous at a time when the Prime Minister is claiming fault lies with members of the community.

“What we know from the 15 – 28 January report that contact tracing has been operating at less than bronze standard based on the Verrall recommendations, with only 48 per cent of contacts made within the 96 hour timeframe.

“Is Dr Verrall, now a Cabinet Minister, satisfied with this performance?

“Not only is the data for all of February missing, but when compared with our peers across the Tasman, New Zealand’s performance is terrible.

“Victoria, with a population of 6.3 million, releases contact tracing data weekly and is performing at levels way above New Zealand.

“The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services aims to have all close contacts of a positive case contacted and isolating within 48 hours of being notified of a positive result.

“Not 80 percent in four days – everyone within two days; and they regularly go very close to meeting it.

“For example, for the week to 16 February, it notified 99.8 percent of known contacts of 17 new positive cases (5749 people) within 48 hours and told them to stay home and isolate for 14 days.

“For the week to 23 February it was 99.9 percent (711 people).

“It’s been clear for weeks that contact tracing in South Auckland has been slow and variable, to say the least.

“Not all contacts have been tracked down, and some of them have spread the cluster further.

“New Zealand’s ‘gold standard’ of four days to reach community contacts is a joke and once again it’s a big reason why Auckland is in lockdown and the whole country is being inconvenienced.”

ENDS