Rapid case detection and contact tracing, combined with other basic public health measures, has over 90% efficacy against COVID-19 at the population level, making it as effective as many vaccines. This intervention is central to COVID-19 elimination in New Zealand. The report presents findings and makes recommendations for improvements to contact tracing to control COVID-19 in New Zealand.
- The Ministry of Health should expand the capacity of Public Health Units (PHUs) to isolate COVID-19 cases and trace their contacts three to four-fold for as long as COVID-19 remains a public health threat. Some of this additional capacity should include contact tracing teams that can move from one PHU to another according to need.
- The Ministry of Health should develop a COVID-19 outbreak preparedness plan that includes how to rapidly scale case identification and contact tracing and regain control. The plan should specify the task-shifting arrangements between PHUs and NCCS and any additional resource required to deal with up to 1000 cases per day while maintaining high performance.