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Increased North West Testing Needed Now

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Tags: Health, North West Tasmania, COVID-19

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

The approach to COVID-19 testing in North West Tasmania must change to ensure we have the best chance of limiting the virus’ impact on the community.

In today’s briefing, the Director of Public Health said just over 100 tests for coronavirus had been conducted in the North West yesterday. This followed a similar figure on Monday.

Dr Veitch indicated the capacity already exists for 500 tests per day to be conducted.

Health Minister, Sarah Courtney stated we have the infrastructure, staff and equipment needed to expand the number of tests being done by approximately 400 per day. We should make sure this capacity is used.

The North West outbreak is very serious, and fifteen new cases were reported in the region yesterday.

If we’re able to test 500 people a day to check who is infected with coronavirus, we should be testing 500.

Given the real risk of community transmission, acknowledged by the Premier, now is the time to undertake widespread sentinel testing in the North West.

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. This is only way to get a clear picture of the spread of the virus, and be proactive with a timely response.

Many of the measures the State Government has put in place to limit the spread of this virus have been strong and proactive. They must take the same approach to testing in the North West.

This is a critical moment in our response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the North West. We must use everything in our armoury to limit the spread of a virus that has already claimed the lives of six Tasmanians – that includes the entirety of our testing capacity.