Now, we're tracking down COVID-19

Testing for community COVID transmissionAfter our measles coup we are now turning our sights on COVID-19, using the same disease burden heat map technology to track infections across our region.

Our provider network Tāmaki Health has been operating three of Auckland’s five dedicated community based assessment centres (CBACs) for COVID-19 testing since March. The centres have been taking the pressure off GP clinics and emergency departments in the drive to minimise the risk of COVID-19 community transmission. 

By the end of April, staff at our three CBACs had undertaken 11,096 tests for the virus. The Tāmaki Health centres, which operate on a medical referral basis only, are located at Airport Oaks Local Doctors in Māngere, St Luke’s White Cross and Henderson Specialist Centre.

Community testing

As well, Tāmaki Health staff undertook targeted community testing on 20 April as part of a nationwide Ministry of Health initiative to see if there was undetected community transmission ahead of the move to Level 3 of the lockdown. Testing stations at supermarket carparks in Māngere and Henderson – areas regarded as hotspots for the virus – took 450 swabs and all of them tested negative.

Now, under Level 3 of the lockdown, Total Healthcare is using the testing data to generate maps of COVID-19 clusters within our practice network. We are also working with other Auckland region PHOs and DHBs to develop heat maps that can deliver the same functionality for their practice areas.

The heat mapping technology, developed inhouse by Total Healthcare and Tāmaki Health, pulls patient illness classification data in real time from practice management systems, mapping out distribution and prevalence of infection.

Total Healthcare’s general manager Kate Moodabe says the technology proved vital in marshalling vaccines and vaccinators during last year’s measles outbreak.

At the recent New Zealand Primary Healthcare Awards | He Tohu Mauri Ora, Total Healthcare, along with Tāmaki Healthcare, won the Spark Health Excellence in Information Technology Award for their response in the measles outbreak.