Health Minister 'frustrated' at staff testing blunder

The Minister for Health has bitten back against claims the lack of testing of staff at quarantine facilities is an 'embarassment'. 

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Chris Hipkins says both the Government and public need to be “focused forward” at addressing the outbreak. Source: 1 NEWS

Earlier this week it was revealed that only 60 per cent of staff working at Auckland's managed isolation facility, the Jet Park Hotel, had been tested.  

Chris Hipkins says while eventually an investigation into the issue will happen, it's not a priority while dealing with the current Covid-19 outbreak. 

"Yes I had said it was frustrating that we were not getting the testing of staff that we needed to at Jet Park [Hotel]. But actually I'm not going to distract people's attention from the job at hand to go over that now."

Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield says one of the main issue with identifying whether staff have undergone testing for the virus is that not all of them are tested at their workplace. 

The nature of their working environment, such as working shift work, has contributed to making it harder to track and taking longer to compile that data.

In the last 24 hours to 9am, 583 managed isolation and quarantine staff, 976 airport staff and 270 maritime staff have been tested for coronavirus. 

Mr Hipkins was quick to acknowledge responsibility for the testing blunder saying he would be leaving "no stone unturned" when investigating the matter. 

"As I've been very clear about, I'm not going to stop and take a whole lot of time to look backwards. What's really important at this point is that we're looking forward." 

Yesterday, the Health Minister said he was preparing to order a mandate for all border and quarantine staff to be tested in light of the most recent outbreak. 

Seven new cases of coronavirus were announced by the Director General of Health today, taking the number of cases in the community to 56 people.