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Retesting of COVID-19 Patients is Critical

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 20 April 2020

Tags: Health, COVID-19

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

The revelation a couple were cleared to leave self-isolation, only for one of them to return a further positive COVID-19 test, is disturbing. There is still much we don’t know about this deadly virus, and we must take every precaution we can.

COVID-19 testing guidelines in Tasmania should be expanded to ensure all patients return a negative test before they are cleared to leave self-isolation.

Tasmania has a confirmed local example someone infected with coronavirus, who was allowed to return into the community. We cannot risk this happening again.

In this morning’s briefing, the Deputy Director of Public Health noted current national guidelines do not require final clearance testing of COVID-19 patients, but signalled it was being considered in national discussions.

National guidelines are an important part of establishing a minimum standard of practice, but they should not limit individual states taking further precautions.

The global understanding of COVID-19 is still developing, and we should be taking a precautionary approach. The situation in the North West has shown how quickly this virus can snowball.

Tasmania now has greatly expanded testing capacity, which is currently being under-utilised.

There are 71 people who have recovered from COVID-19 in Tasmania over the last month. Increasing the testing guidelines to give them a clearance test would not put a burden on the system.

Tasmania moved first on border restrictions and on implementing other strong measures, and we should not hesitate to move first on expanded testing guidelines.