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Covid-19 testing sites to be established in Invercargill and Dunedin

Saturday 04 December 2021

Adding capacity and improving accessibility, WellSouth primary health network is establishing Covid-19 testing centres in Dunedin and Invercargill. 

The centres will supplement swabbing services already provided by general practices and providers, such as Te Kāika, that have stood up dedicated swabbing services.

The additional testing resources will support an increase in testing rates in the region, and can be scaled-up quickly if surge capacity is needed.

The Dunedin location is 5 Malcolm Street, near to the hospital and the University of Otago, and WellSouth is finalising a central city location in Invercargill. The Dunedin testing centre is opening it doors the week of 06 December while the Invercargill site will be operational before the end of the year.


 Covid-19 Testing Centre, 5 Malcom Street, Dunedin

The Covid testing centres to be open 11am to 7pm, seven days a week, and tests available without appointments, via drive-through and walk-in.                                                                                                                                        

“General practice teams continue to do an incredible job of delivering Covid swabbing across the district and we want to support these efforts to ensure anyone who needs a Covid-19 test, can quickly get a test,” says WellSouth CEO Andrew Swanson-Dobbs. “With Covid present on the North Island, there are regular increases in demand for testing and projections indicate this will continue - and likely increase further - in the coming months.

“Our plan will strengthen weekend testing availability and sustainability of services in Dunedin and Invercargill and across the district. This is even more vital as the holiday season approaches and we are hosting visitors to our region.” 

If further swabbing capacity is required, pop-up testing sites at larger venues in Dunedin and Invercargill or other parts of the district, could also be established.

Part of endemic planning

WellSouth, Public Health South, Southern DHB, St John, rural hospitals and others have been collaborating on plans to manage Covid-19 positive patients when cases occur in Southern. It’s expected that many patients – mild and moderate cases - could isolate and be managed at home, with care provided virtually by their own GPs or other primary care clinician.

Wendy Findlay, WellSouth Director of Nursing, says getting vaccination rates as close to 100% as possible among eligible populations continues as the priority at present, but early detection of the virus is also vital.

“We’re confident in our plans and we are preparing should Covid return to the Southern region. Early detection is critical and so making Covid testing even more readily available and visible – and keeping swabbing rates high – will help to keep our communities safe.”

In recent weeks, WellSouth has already implemented extended hours for the 0800 VIRUS19 call centre to 4pm at the weekends and added staff in the evenings to make outbound calls supporting Māori and Pasifika to access Covid-19 vaccinations.

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