Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Gap between testing and capacity a major concern

“The gap between the number of COVID-19 tests being performed and our capacity to test is a major concern”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Director-General of Health yesterday said that over the past week an average of 1,728 tests had been carried out each day.

“The Prime Minister later confirmed that we have the capacity to ‘test over 3,000 New Zealanders daily’.

“Why are we not testing at capacity? The Prime Minister wasn’t able to answer that question this afternoon at her press conference.

“Getting accurate information about the number of COVID-19 tests is critical right now and absolutely necessary if we are to safely lower the Alert Level down the track.

“We could be doing an extra 1,200 COVID-19 tests each day but we are not.

“The widening of the case definition today is a good step, but the Government must make it abundantly clear to doctors that if they want to test, they should.

“The Government must also heed Professor David Skegg’s call earlier today to begin planned epidemiological studies.

“David Clark said the Government is considering starting survey testing, similar to what is done for the flu. It is critical the Government invests in data and testing to inform such decisions as soon as possible. It could use its extra capacity to begin testing randomly so we can understand the true prevalence of COVID-19.”