21 May 2020

Contact tracing a 'very significant challenge' for Auckland

8:17 am on 21 May 2020

Auckland's Covid-19 contact tracing has to be five times what it was at the height of the outbreak to meet government requirements.

Government Technology Agency (GovTech) staff demonstrate Singapore's new contact-tracing smarthphone app called TraceTogether, as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore .

A contact-tracing smarthphone app that Singapore is using called TraceTogether. Photo: AFP

And the city's public health service says the "phenomenal" number will be challenging to deliver.

The government wants the country, within the next few weeks, to be able to trace the contacts of 500 cases a day as it stays ready for flare-ups.

For Auckland's Regional Public Health Service that means being ready to go on 177 cases a day.

At the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak it was tracing just over 30.

The service's director, William Rainger told an Auckland District Health Board meeting that will be a "very significant challenge" to deliver.

"Up to 177 cases a day is, frankly, an absolutely phenomenal number of cases but, nevertheless, that is the clear expectation," he said.

During level 4, 89 people were drafted in from other parts of the service to help with Covid-19.

Most had gone back to their old roles, Dr Rainger said.

He's asking DHBs to help with staffing and other support for at least the next 12 months.

It did not have clarity from the Ministry of Health in terms of how much money it would contribute to the effort.

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