Tamariki return to school - COVID-19 testing stations will downscale

By Bronson Perich

Director-General for Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has no doubt that the school system can protect our tamariki and taiohi from COVID-19.

“There is very good guidance available and the Ministry of Education’s been working with schools,” he says.

“I think students also know, they’ve been following what’s been happening over the last few weeks at home.

“I imagine the excitement levels are pretty high, I’ve got one (a student) heading off to school … and he can’t wait to see his mates.”

Dr Bloomfield noted that Aotearoa testing rates are some of the highest in the world.

“We’ve worked hard to really break the chains of transmission for this virus. Even with our high rates of testing right around the motu, over the last few weeks, we still haven’t uncovered any hidden pockets.”

With the rates of new cases coming down to single digits, DHB’s will reduce the amount of CBACs (Community Based Assessment Centres) on the ground.

“It will really just depend on what sort of testing we need to maintain over this autumn/winter period. Particularly if we’re remaining at alert level two or even going down to alert level one,” Dr Bloomfield says.

“Whether or not Māori providers remain [sic] doing the swabbing it won’t be just particular to them.

“But it might be other CBACs in the community as well, that we wind back, and we put on hold till we might need them again.”

Dr Bloomfield says that the Māori Health Providers have done an excellent job and the key now is to determine the best way to use them going forward.