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COVID-19 testing centre starts in Tauranga

Photo: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

A corona virus drive-in assessment centre opened in Tauranga today.

The centre allows people with suspected COVID-19 symptoms to drive directly to the centre to be assessed.

The centre opened at Tauranga Racecourse this morning and will be open from 9am-6pm, seven days a week.

A deliberate ‘soft opening’ was in place today to test systems and ensure it works well.

The centre has been set up to allow other medical centres, general practices (GPs) and Tauranga Hospital to continue providing health services to the public without the threat of COVID-19 transmission.

The Community Based Assessment Centre is for people who are unwell it is not a general swabbing centre.

Who should go to the CBAC?

•People with acute respiratory illness

•People with flu-like illness/infection with no other plausible cause for the symptoms than COVID-19

Who will not be seen?

•Anyone NOT acutely unwell. Advice will continue to be provided through Healthline and written information will be provided while people are in the CBAC queue where appropriate.

•Chronic disease management. Patients with existing chronic disease and no COVID-19 symptoms should contact their usual GP.

•Infective illness not likely to be COVID-19

People should seek advice from Healthline 0800 358 5453 or their GP before attending the centre to check whether their symptoms meet the criteria for assessment and will need to arrive by private vehicle as no walk-ins will be accepted.

People with symptoms are advised not to use public transport to travel to the centre.

Medical staff will assess people for COVID-19 symptoms, carry out testing if appropriate, offer advice for treatment and refer on if necessary.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board interim chief executive Simon Everitt says it is important that people attending the centre stay in their cars on arrival and follow any instructions they are given.

“We need to protect the health of both our healthcare workers and other people around us. We don’t want people walking into the centre or using public transport to get there. If you are unable to travel to the centre, we will make alternative arrangements for you.

“Ideally people with symptoms will attend the centre on their own, or caregivers will bring any children who are unwell. People too unwell to drive will also need a caregiver with them, but that person will then need to go into self-isolation too, depending on whether the person is a likely case or not.”

Simon says we all need to unite against COVID-19 to slow its spread.

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