Professor calls for more transparency in reporting of rural Covid-19 statistics

Source: 1News

A public health professor says releasing Covid-19 testing and infection statistics by local authorities, rather than by district health boards, would be beneficial to rural communities.

Speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, Professor Ross Lawrenson of Waikato University said specialists in rural areas need statistics broken down into areas that make sense - local authority areas - and that the information should be released publicly.

"We want local reporting of the Covid-19 figures - both the testing and the positive tests," Mr Lawrenson said.

"For instance, in the Waikato we have ten local authorities in our DHB, so breaking down those figures by local authority and making those figures public is something we think is important to do."

Mr Lawerenson said rural health services are "thinly stretched" at the moment, so have a better understanding of exactly where testing and infections are taking place would be beneficial to medical professionals and researchers for planning purposes.

"I think it's important to be transparent for the community so they can understand what's going on locally."

Mr Lawrenson said that several rural businesses - largely food producers - are continuing to operate during the lockdown, and that "if you get infection going into any of those rural communities, it's a real concern".