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Covid Testing Centre opens in Invercargill



Wednesday 21 December 2022

 

Awarua Whānau Services and WellSouth Primary Health Network are partnering to ensure Covid-19 testing and vaccinations are even more accessible for residents and visitors to Invercargill.

Opening Monday 20 December, the health providers are collaborating on a no-appointment-required, drive-through testing centre in the car park behind the Newfield Tavern, Invercargill. A marquee has been set up to accommodated testing alongside a separate marquee for drive-through Covid-19 vaccinations. Both are accessible via the entrance off Regent Street.

“We want to do everything we can to reduce barriers, ensuring our communities can access testing, get the Covid vaccine, and help keep our whānau safe,” says Amy de Vries, general manager, Awarua Whanau Services.

The partnership builds on the relationship established with Otakou Health Limited and Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora Limited, and Awarua Whanau Services is pleased to continue the model in partnership with WellSouth.

The Covid Testing Centre and vaccination sites are open 11am to 5pm, seven days a week. The site adds extra testing and vaccination capacity, particularly at the weekends, supporting the sustainability of health care services in the city and surrounding area.

Testing is free for anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms or meeting other Ministry of Health criteria, including port/border workers needing surveillance testing.

Testing and vaccinations continue to be available through general practices and other providers in Invercargill, across Southland and throughout district. If additional capacity is required, extra staff can be brought in to ensure tests and vaccinations are available. WellSouth’s resurgence planning also ensures pop-up testing sites can be provided quickly throughout the district.

“General practices teams and other health providers like Awarua, have done a remarkable job of providing testing, vaccinations, and continuing business as usual, caring for patients and providing preventive care,” says Andrew Swanson Dobbs, CEO, WellSouth.

“The new seven-day a week site here, as well as the testing centre in Dunedin, is supporting the hard mahi that health providers have been doing for close to two years now.

“We are so grateful to Awarua Whanau services for partnering with us to ensure these important services continue to be readily available and accessible.”

Part of endemic planning

Additional Covid testing capacity and supporting the ongoing Covid vaccination programme, is part of health services planning for endemic Covid. This includes supporting many Covid-19 positive patients – mild and moderate cases – to 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 as people start to travel around the country and within the region, it’s a certainty that the Covid-19 virus will return to Southern.

“It’s good news that we have high vaccination rates, but it remains really important for people to get tested. We want to help support early detection to help stop the virus from spreading. And that starts with making sure people have free and easy access to testing.”

WellSouth opened a Covid-19 Community Testing Centre in Dunedin on 06 December and there are seven day a week testing centres in Queenstown as well..

In recent weeks, WellSouth has also 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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