Testing ramped up

Covid-19 testing capabilities have been boosted after hundreds asking for Covid-19 tests yesterday (12 August 2020) caused delays.

Gisborne GPs are getting large numbers of people requesting tests in the wake of the Auckland outbreak and news members of the Covid-19-positive family at the centre of the outbreak visited Rotorua at the weekend.

The demand was causing a delay until testing could be done, Tairawhiti liaison GP Dr Anna Meuli said.

There had been a huge volume of requests for testing yesterday.

“People with symptoms should stay home and follow the advice from their GP or Healthline, said Dr Meuli.

People waiting for testing may need to be patient

“From today there was an increased capacity for testing but people may still need to be patient while awaiting a test.

“If they are more unwell or concerned about their health they should re-contact their GP.

“Those who have travelled out of the region but do not have any symptoms do not need to be tested currently.”

Hauora Tairawhiti medical officer of health Dr Osman Mansoor said it was great see the community response.

“People want to make sure they don’t have the virus. The expectation is that we will soon be able to meet demand for timely testing. Please bear with us as we scale up.

“From today extra staff have been redeployed to enable more testing to be done.

Over the last few weeks, an average of 25 people a day have been swabbed in Tairawhiti.

“Yesterday, 120 people were swabbed in Tairawhiti and another 187 (as at 9am this morning) have been referred for testing,” said Dr Mansoor.

The sudden increase in demand has meant health services are quickly adapting to ensure everyone that needs a Covid test will get one.

“Healthcare workers are working as hard as they can to make sure that people who are sick can be seen and tested if required. There may be a delay to test everyone. That is why it is important that people who are sick stay home. Please keep calm and be patient.”

Dr Meuli said people with potential Covid-19 symptoms, such as cough, breathlessness, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, should phone their GP.

'Please don't just turn up'

“Please don’t just turn up. They will make a phone assessment and if testing is indicated, this will be arranged either in practice, or by referral to the nurse swabbing service.

“It is particularly important that anyone who has travelled out of the region and has symptoms is tested.”

Hauora Tairawhiti acting chief executive Lynsey Bartlett said no health services had been delayed or deferred after yesterday’s move to Level 2.

“If you have an appointment or surgery at Gisborne Hospital, presume it is going ahead unless you are contacted.

“For anyone visiting Gisborne Hospital, extra measures have been put back in place to keep everyone safe.

“All people will be screened at the entrances. Visiting hours are limited to 2pm to 5pm. A maximum of one visitor per patient is allowed at any one time.”

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