Kia ora koutou,
We have undertaken an additional review of our COVID-19 Testing Guidance for the Health Sector and I’m writing to inform you that there is now an updated version of this document on the Ministry’s website, replacing the testing guidance issued on 8 July 2021, to further clarify advice around testing children during an outbreak.
The interim Testing Guidance published for the period 30 August to 8 September replaces the Testing Guidance previously issued on 8 July.
The emergence, and now the increasing prevalence, of the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus, reinforces the importance of testing to quickly identify and manage any cases of COVID-19 in the community to keep our communities safe.
The major change to this interim Testing Guidance for the Health Sector is that, at any Alert Level, everyone (including children and the elderly) should be tested if they are a close or casual-plus contact of a confirmed case.
Testing Method: A swab from the nasopharynx is the most effective way of detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and should be taken wherever possible. Most people will tolerate this procedure however a combined anterior nares and oropharyngeal swab can be considered as an alternative for children and the elderly.
Community testing needs to continue to focus on reducing barriers to testing and needs to include non-appointment-based options and ensure testing is equitably available for all those with symptoms.
DHB cultural and community liaison roles will have a key role in planning and implementing approaches with our Māori and Pacific communities, health leaders and health providers.
The full current advice for the period ending 8 September 2021 is available here.