120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating in NZ

The testing site at Baypark in Tauranga. Photo: Lola Vahey

Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.

Sixty eight community based assessment centres have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for COVID-19.

In the Bay of Plenty, there are testing site at Baypark in Tauranga, the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall in Whakatāne and the The Ōpōtiki Senior Citizens Hall in Ōpōtiki.

The centres are a dedicated location for clinicians to see people with COVID-19 symptoms, assess them, and, if needed, take samples to be tested.

The sites are in port-a-coms, tents, GP clinics, and drive thru-style set ups.

“These centres are designed to take the load off GP teams and hospital emergency departments. They also reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for healthcare workers in ‘walk-in’ healthcare locations,” says Health Minister David Clark.

“The clinic set ups vary from region to region, from port-a-coms to drive thrus. It’s incredibly encouraging to see DHBs getting these centres up and running so quickly.

“These centres have been set up in areas of high demand. We will assess the data and more clinics will be opened where the demand is strongest.

"The Ministry of Health has updated the advice on testing criteria. Now, anyone with respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 - regardless of travel history or contact with a confirmed case - will be considered for testing. Because of this, we’re starting to see more testing and that’s a good thing.

“On Tuesday, 4098 tests were processed by our labs, and our testing capacity continues to increase. In terms of materials, I’ve been advised that by the end of next week we’ll have up 60,000 complete tests and we have a similar number of swabs with the local manufacture of up to 250,000 more over the next three to four weeks."

Some DHBs also offer ‘mobile clinics’ for more vulnerable communities such as rest home residents.

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