1.- Who’s responsible for commissioning the testing?
The MOH has commissioned Environment Science & Research Centre (ESR) to carry out wastewater testing as part of NZ COVID-19 Surveillance. ESR organise the sampling and carry out the analysis of wastewater samples.
As part of surveillance there are 26 sites across NZ that are regularly samples and these sites reflect large centres or sites of MIQ facilities or border entry points. The regularly sampled sites include Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch, Rotorua, Queenstown, several sites in Auckland, Whangarei, Dunedin, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Nelson, Taupo, Gisborne, Napier and Invercargill
2.- Who does it?
Local councils and wastewater treatment plants personal e.g. Watercare
3.- How are regions and sites prioritised?
In an community outbreak, such as now, MOH, Public Health Units and ESR discuss where additional sampling needs to take place.
Currently in response to this outbreak by Friday 27 August we anticipate having wastewater results from at least 87 sites ( in addition to those regularly sampled sites above) across New Zealand covering 3.8 million people.
Specially sites that are being sampled in the Northland region include:
4.- How can regional leaders (like the RPSL, Regional Public Service Lead) can be updated on the abovementioned points.
Regional Public Health Units are informed of any positive detections in a particular area.
Wastewater results are published in the MOH Situation report
More information about wastewater testing can be found on the MOH website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/covid-19-wastewater-testing