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Simon Wallace: Aged Care Association wants mandatory testing in rest homes

The Mike Hosking Breakfast

A desperate bid to protect New Zealand's elderly from covid-19.
The Ministry of Health has asked District Health Boards to assess aged residential care providers' risk management plans.Three of the country's disease clusters are within aged care facilities.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says DHBs will look at each facilities' ability to protect residents and staff.
"This will include assessing PPE stocks, how it is being used, and also to ensure that there is a ready supply of PE for those facilities."
But there wouldn't be mandatory testing of anyone moving into rest homes, which the Aged Care Association has called for.
On average, 700 people move to aged-care facilities each week and all have to self-isolate. People are only tested if they're symptomatic.
Association chief executive Simon Wallace wants everyone tested so if they're positive, they wouldn't be admitted.
"We're taking a very responsible position in that this is the most vulnerable group of people - they are the most susceptible to Covid-19.
"If we have the capacity to do 5000 tests a day, it wouldn't be that many tests for the most vulnerable cohort of our population," Wallace said.
He wrote to Bloomfield last week asking for mandatory testing but his proposal was rejected as testing people who weren't symptomatic didn't fit the case definition.
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