Capacity at Auckland’s six community testing centres has been boosted with more staff and longer hours – but people are being warned to expect longer waits than usual.
Northern Region Health Coordination Centre Lead Margie Apa said the health sector in Auckland is well prepared to respond to the new community cases but is asking people to prepare to be patient if they are aiming to be tested tomorrow.
“The new cases are a concern, but we expected to see further community cases in Auckland at some point in this pandemic, and we are well prepared.
“We have successfully responded to outbreaks like this before in Tāmaki Makarau. Together we can do it again.”
A Year 9 student from Papatoetoe High and her parents have all tested positive for Covid this weekend. A testing station will be set up at the South Auckland school for students, staff and their families.
The positive tests have resulted in Auckland moving into a Level 3 lockdown which means people should stay at home unless they are essential workers. Schools and daycares are closed to all children, besides those of essential workers, and gatherings are restricted to groups of no more than 10.
Apa said all health services are regarded as essential and will continue as usual with an additional focus on infection prevention control measures and physical distancing of patients.
The city’s hospitals and aged residential care facilities are updating their visitor policies and other protocols to protect the most vulnerable.
“Our hospitals will continue with planned care including clinics and surgery and we ask patients to please keep their appointments unless they are advised otherwise by their specialist or by public health,” said Apa.
“If you are unwell with the symptoms of Covid-19 please call your contact at the hospital or clinic before coming to an appointment. They will tell you what to do.
“We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and other agencies to ensure everything possible is done to contain the spread of Covid-19 in our communities.”
Apa said the key message was for everyone in Auckland to be vigilant.
“The best defense against Covid-19 is to follow the same actions we’ve taken throughout the pandemic. Maintain good hand hygiene. Stay home if you are sick. Keep track of your movements to help us with contact tracing. Maintain physical distancing.
“If you have any symptoms, please get a free test at your local doctor, Urgent Care Clinic, or at one of our community testing centres. If you are unsure, call your local doctor or Healthline. We advise that you ring ahead if you are planning to see your practice.
“The all-of-community response that has served us well throughout the pandemic remains more important than ever and we thank everyone for continuing do their part.”
General Practices and Urgent Care Clinics are also prepared for a higher volume of testing. Mobile testing units are on standby to be deployed rapidly to locations throughout the city as directed by public health.
To find testing locations in metro Auckland, visit www.arphs.health.nz/covid19test. For up-to-date information on all testing locations, please call Healthline (0800 358 5453) or visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/
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