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Community Testing a Critical Part of COVID-19 Suppression

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Tags: COVID-19, Health, Community Safety

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

The approach to COVID-19 testing in Tasmania needs to change for us to fully understand the pattern of transmission and give us the best chance of limiting the impact of coronavirus.

The Greens have been raising the issue of purposeful community testing since mid-March with the government. We are yet to receive a satisfactory answer about why this is not occurring in the Tasmanian context, especially given our rate of testing has remained well below capacity for at least the last month.

While we have seen an increase in testing numbers, the current passive approach is not providing us with the meaningful information we need about viral activity within community. As we look to expanding our testing capacity, we also need to be more proactive about the way we conduct tests.

Rather than waiting for people to self-identify with symptoms, we need to start proactively conducting random tests in strategic community settings, such as supermarkets or big box stores.

We welcome the Labor Opposition joining the call for this type of widespread testing, and encourage the Government to reconsider its approach.

Expanding testing becomes even more important as we move towards easing some restrictions. Community-based testing is the best way to get a clear picture of the spread of the virus, and be proactive with a timely response.