Testing for Covid-19 is set to be ramped up with a particular focus on higher risk asymptomatic people such as police, health care workers and people in rest homes.
Contacts of cases where the source of infection is unknown will also be prioritised, as these people might be potential sources of new outbreaks.
DHBs have been working on their surveillance plans - testing in order to provide a fuller picture of the prevalence of the virus in communities - and that is set to begin next week, regardless of whether the country moves to level 2.
"To make sure that there are no cases of Covid-19 circulating in their communities, DHBs are offering testing to specific communities that are potentially at higher risk of being exposed to Covid-19," director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement today.
"That includes healthcare workers, those in aged residential care, essential workers and vulnerable groups."
Wider testing has already taken place, including for border, isolation facility and airport staff in Auckland as well as 270 staff at Middlemore Hospital.
This testing identified one previously undetected case, a Ministry for Primary Industries staffer, which was likely linked to travel prior to New Zealand going into lockdown.
This week asymptomatic testing has been offered in the remote rural communities of Reefton and Springs Junction on the West Coast, and in the Maori community of Arahura.
Southern DHB has tested people at Bluff and Murihiku maraes, while MidCentral DHB has been testing staff of 10 aged care residential facilities across the district.
Those tests have not identified any unknown pockets of infection around the country to date.
"That's the way we want to keep it," Bloomfield said.
"The next phase of our testing plan means DHBs will include further mobile and outreach testing services for priority groups such as Mâori and Pacific people, and smaller rural and remote communities."
Bloomfield said that up to 12,535 tests per day can now be conducted.
More than 175,000 tests have been completed, and Bloomfield said New Zealand had the second lowest testing positivity rate at (0.85 per cent) of all those countries who've done at least 50,000 tests.
He stressed that anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms, however mild, should seek advice straight away on getting tested.
"Acting quickly makes it easier to stop the chain of transmission and stamp out cases of Covid-19."
For advice on getting a test call your GP, iwi health provider, or Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.
The Health Ministry's testing plan throughout alert level 3 and into alert level 2 aims to:
• Quickly identify all new cases of the virus in order to isolate them and trace and quarantine their contacts;
• Ensure that testing is accessible to all groups fairly;
• Identify any undetected community spread in New Zealand; and
• Monitor for Covid-19 in people at higher risk of exposure
"Testing is an essential part of New Zealand's elimination strategy and is the key starting point for identifying and containing the spread of the virus," Bloomfield said.
"We need to maintain our focus on ensuring all those who have symptoms are tested, cases are isolated and any close contacts identified and quarantined."