Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Director General say what?

“Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield gave a simply astonishing explanation this afternoon of why community contact tracing performance might be so far below the at least 80 percent of contacts within four days of exposure to a source case, recommended by Dr Ayesha Verrall last April,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Asked why public health teams weren’t meeting the 80 percent measure – the most recent reported data was just 48 percent – Dr Bloomfield said he had been reflecting on this in the last couple of days, and talking to Associate Minister of Health Verrall about it.

“He said, ‘When we set up our contact tracing system, and those measures of success, it was in anticipation of it being deployed in a community outbreak situation, but of course most of the cases we get now are in MIQ and so the compliance for them looks really odd against these metrics.’

“But hold on, if you think about it, if the Ministry of Health is lumping community outbreak contact times in with contacts of COVID cases found in MIQ, they must surely skew the metrics to make them look better, not worse.

“If you discover a case of COVID-19 in MIQ it stands to reason that that case has very few close contacts – presumably only the people they’ve been travelling with.

“Contacting them shouldn’t take a day, let alone four – they’re probably staying in the same room as the source case. Adding them to the data on community outbreak contact times would make the performance statistics look much better.

“This is getting ridiculous.

Not only is the whole month of February’s contact tracing performance statistics missing from the Ministry’s website, as ACT revealed this morning, Dr Bloomfield was unable to give any indication to media this afternoon of what that data says.

“Now he’s suggested it all might be unreliable anyway, but the reason he’s given for that doesn’t make any sense.

“Meanwhile, in the Australian state of Victoria the Department of Health aims to have all close contacts of a positive case contacted and isolating within 48 hours of being notified of a positive result, and they manage that almost 100 percent of the time.

“It’s appalling that so much opprobrium has been heaped on members of the community when the Ministry of Health can’t get its house in order or its story straight.”