Northland DHB is establishing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Community Testing Centres throughout Northland, with the first centres opening in Whangarei, Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Kaikohe and Kawakawa this Friday, 19 March.
“The purpose of a Community Testing Centre is to test people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and who have travelled overseas in the last two weeks or think they have been exposed to COVID-19,” offered Medical Officer of Health Dr Catherine Jackson.
“The centres are for testing only and will not be providing medical care or assessment. If you are feeling unwell and are sick enough to normally see your doctor please call your GP for an appointment.”
Healthline remains the first point of contact for people who are unwell and have symptoms of COVID-19. Healthline who will provide guidance on whether testing is needed and will indicate whether people should contact their GP for a referral to a testing centre.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
• a cough
• sore throat
• a fever
• shortness of breath.
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.
Communities have access to Community Testing Centres across the rohe. Locations include Kaitaia Hospital, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Kawakawa, Rawene, Whangarei, Dargaville and potentially Wellsford or Mangawhai. Centres will be open Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 4 pm.
“The aim of the centres is to take the load off general practice teams and emergency departments and reduce exposure risk for healthcare workers in other walk-in care locations,” Dr Jackson said.
“While people are waiting to be tested they may be asked to stay in their cars, and will be advised to practice social distancing and keep 2 meters away from other people who are waiting.
“If you can’t make it to the clinic during opening hours it is safe to wait until the next day the clinic is open unless you need to see a doctor, in which case you should seek medical attention.”
All Medical centres and GPs will still be able to collect test samples for COVID-19 testing, if necessary.
For more information on COVID-19 and Community Testing Centre locations and opening hours please visit our website – www.northlanddhb.org.nz(external link) or the Ministry of Health website www.moh.govt.nz(external link)