A major South Auckland healthcare provider says door-to-door Covid-19 testing needs to be ramped up in the area.
Hotspots where there are known clusters and unlinked cases now include Henderson, Papakura, Clover Park, Māngere, Favona, Manurewa, and Mount Wellington/Sylvia Park.
The South Seas Healthcare Trust currently has a crew operating a mobile Covid-19 testing unit in south Auckland on behalf of the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC).
South Seas Healthcare chief executive Silao Vaisola-Sefo said its mobile unit has been a success, but more needs to be done in Auckland's suburbs of interest to get on top of the Delta outbreak.
"We are currently doing mobile testing, both as surveillance testing and based on referrals from the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) and through our own systems," Vaisola-Sefo said.
"But it's mainly been focused on contact tracing after the Assembly of God [church] cluster. We just need to scale things up so we can respond a lot quicker.
"We've had pop-up testing stations based in areas where we've asked people to turn up to get a test," Vaisola-Sefo said. "But we've got to get into people's homes. It really needs to be scaled up."
It is important teams doing door-to-door testing also offer vaccinations and ask people about any other problems, such as food shortages and housing issues, to build trust with affected communities, he said.
An NRHCC spokeswoman said it has boosted its testing capacity in Auckland's suburbs of interest by extending the operating hours of existing community testing centres and opening new pop-up testing facilities.
"People can also access free testing at their GP or at a nearby designated GP practice (where you don't need to be enrolled to get a Covid-19 test) or urgent care clinic," she said.
"In addition to these testing options, we have mobile testing providers ready to be deployed rapidly as directed by public health."
Asked if it planned to increase door-to-door testing, the spokeswoman said: "We continue to review demand for testing across community testing centres, primary care and mobile testing and respond readily to testing needs in our communities.
"We work with a range of healthcare providers to provide mobile testing and are in regular talks with all our providers to manage demand for testing."
Janet Masoe-Hundal is working as a Covid-19 testing team leader for the Pasifika healthcare provider The Fono.
"Just over the weekend we went to a transitional housing complex in Ōtāhuhu," Masoe-Hundal said. "We went door-to-door and we were able to connect with those families and that worked really well."
Masoe-Hundal said it's a good way to break down barriers and encourage people to get tested and vaccinated. But she said she hadn't stopped to consider whether there needs to be more mobile testing units.
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker has said with low levels of transmission in areas like South Auckland, increased door-to-door testing would be a more effective way to get an accurate idea of the scale of the problem.
Baker said the effectiveness of pop-up testing centres is limited by the fact it requires people to voluntarily turn-up to get a test.
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