Māori and Pacific COVID-19 testing boosted with new centres

7 April 2020

The number of Māori and Pacific people being tested for COVID-19 is set to significantly increase with the opening of two new community testing centres in South Auckland.

Last weekend, a clinic focusing on the needs of the Pacific community opened at South Seas Healthcare in Otara, with a Māori-focused clinic also opening at the Whānau Ora Community Clinic in Wiri.

This brings the total commuity testing network across the metro Auckland area to 14 sites. (See full list below).

Waitematā DHB CEO and Northern Region COVID-19 lead Dr Dale Bramley said the two new clinics would ensure a culturally appropriate approach to testing for Māori and Pacific.

“This is part of our ongoing efforts across metro Auckland to reduce barriers to testing and ensure people who are showing potential COVID-19 symptoms are undergoing checks for the disease,” Dr Bramley said.

“Although more than 98 per cent of overall tests return a negative result, it is still important that we test wherever people demonstrate potential symptoms, in line with the Ministry of Health’s case definition.

“So far, we have had just over 17,700 people tested across the city at community testing centres, GP practices and urgent care clinics since 21 March.

“Around 20 per cent of these people were Māori or Pacific. The opening of the clinics in Otara and Wiri at the weekend mean we are now in a strong position to keep lifting the rate of testing among Māori and Pacific people as part of our drive toward equitable access across the city.”

The overall number of COVID-19 tests across metro Auckland continues to increase to more than 1300 per day. Dr Bramley said this number would continue to grow, due to further case definition changes for testing from the Ministry of Health.

“We have increased our capacity to test in the community and we have increased the capacity of our labs to process these tests. People can have confidence that we are testing more people than ever for COVID-19 and that cases are being detected as a result,” he said.

Visit Auckland Regional Public Health for information on getting tested for COVID-19.(external link)

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