March 31, 2020, 6:22 p.m.
With nearly 22,000 tests having been completed, an average of around 1700 per day, there are calls for more testing to occur so we can have a better understanding of how many people are really affected. Dr Lance O’Sullivan said "for the number of positive results we have, I think that represents between 10-25% of what was truly out in the community"
From outside his newly established drive-thru Mai Health medical clinic in Kaitaia, Dr O'Sullivan suggested that the current criteria for testing weren't "the best" but necessary because of the current limitation around testing kits and ability to process them.
In her press conference today, the Prime Minister also stated that she wasn't happy with the amount of testing currently being undertaken and there was an acknowledgement from the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield that more testing is needed to find all of the cases of COVID-19.
An alternative testing method, similar to a diabetes blood glucose test was being researched by O'Sullivan, researchers from Otago University and the Bay of Plenty. O'Sullivan said "the benefit of them is that they are incredibly cheap...between $6 and $13.50 each compared to the $50 to $100 for processing a swab".