Saturday, November 27

Delta Outbreak Investigations by Doctors Across New Zealand – Verrall

High-risk contact tracing is being managed by doctors and nurses across the country, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall, as more tracers are recruited for Auckland.

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Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Ayesha Verrall.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

RNZ has reported that the contact tracing system has reached its capacity and the Auckland health authorities are hiring more staff to carry out vital work, while laboratories, test sites and vaccination centers are also making efforts.

Deputy Health Minister Dr. Ayesha Verrall said the system with this outbreak is to call everyone a close contact, and there are a wide range of different risks within that.

Many cases only need daily calls, and more people are being hired to help with that part of the job, he said.

“Rest assured that the contact tracing portion of the outbreak investigation is done by public health professionals – physicians and nurses – at Auckland Regional Public Health and some of the other more complex contacts managed by public health physicians in other parts of the country – for example symptomatic contacts. “

The minister said the government was still committed to its elimination strategy, but with the Delta virus, unlike a year ago, contact tracing alone will not be enough to reverse an outbreak.

“It has to be a follow-up of contacts plus changes in the alert level, as we are doing now.”

Yesterday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that eliminating the media was still the strategy, but that the Delta variant raised big questions about the long-term plan.

“Our response this time, since we were last at level 4, has been faster and more difficult, so we are dealing with a virus that is twice as infectious, but the response is probably 10 times stronger.

“We are fully committed to the phase-out strategy.”

There were no new leads on the link between the potential source of the Delta outbreak and transmission to the community, Verrall said. Morning report.

Contact trackers were still looking for three people who were in a public area of ​​the Crowne Plaza MIQ premises at the time a returnee from New South Wales was being moved into isolation.

“Contrary to what was said yesterday, they weren’t on that public walkway … it’s actually the atrium where the person entered,” Verrall said.

In that part of the installation, members of the public are separated from those to be isolated by sheets of methacrylate, he said.

“We have no further clues from yesterday on whether those people were affected or not.”

It was just a hypothesis that people might have been affected, and a public health assessment would need to be done on how much protection the methacrylate panels offered against transmission in that area.

Testing by MIQ staff also yielded nothing, and despite best efforts, a link may never be determined, he said, but the widespread testing offered some reassurance against the risk of mystery cases turning up.

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