Early testing for COVID-19 vital

Health professionals in the MidCentral region are appealing for anyone who develops cold or flu symptoms to get a test for COVID-19 as soon as they can.

MidCentral DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Robert Weir said it was important for people to seek a test for COVID-19 as soon as symptoms emerged, rather than waiting for them to worsen.

“We want anyone in our community who has begun to show symptoms of COVID-19 to ring their General Practice Team or Healthline to arrange a test at their earliest possible convenience. By being proactive, we can provide reassurance to not only the person, but also to their family and the wider community, that we remain free of COVID-19.

“In the event of a positive test in our region, early detection allows us to start the contact tracing process as soon as possible, thereby limiting potential spread.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, and temporary loss of smell or taste.

Nearly 3500 people have been tested in the MidCentral region at a general practice, the Palmerston North Hospital or the designated testing centre since Monday 10 August.

THINK Hauora Medical Advisor Acute Care Dr Paul Cooper said he wanted to reassure people that testing was available seven days a week  throughout the MidCentral region.

“Thank you to all of the people who have taken the time to be tested but it’s really important we keep testing rates up to ensure early detection of COVID-19 in our community. Testing is free for anyone who needs it, and it is available on both weekdays and weekends.”

Following a phone call with a General Practice Team or Healthline on 0800 358 5453, people will either be directed to a general practice or the testing centre in Palmerston North for a test.

Dr Cooper added that it was important that anyone with respiratory symptoms phone their doctor first before turning up in person.

“To minimise any potential spread it’s important that people stay at home if they’re unwell, and phone their doctor for advice rather than presenting at General Practice where other patients and staff are around. And if you’re asked to wear a mask by a member of the healthcare team, please do so. This is for everyone’s protection and an important part of our defence against the spread of respiratory viruses.”

Dr Cooper advised anyone who was unwell and requiring medicine to ring ahead to their pharmacist for advice and, if possible, get someone else to collect it or ask to have it delivered.

Weekend testing is available from the locations below:

Name

Address

Hours

Phone

Palmerston North Designated testing site

575 Main Street

9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday

N/A

Horowhenua Community Practice

62 Liverpool Street

12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday

(06) 368 1402

Dannevirke Community Hospital

24 Barraud Street

10am-12pm Saturday

(06) 374 8497

 

More information about COVID-19 in the MidCentral district can be found on our website https://covid19.mdhb.health.nz/ (external website)