Covid testing ramped up

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Covid testing centre on Elizabeth Street in Ashburton.

Mid Cantabrians have been lining up for covid testing at the community-based centre in Ashburton.

As news of community cases last week were linked to the South Island and people were self isolating, more than 170 people lined up to be tested over three days at the Ashburton testing centre on Elizabeth Street, in the grounds of the Ashburton Hospital.

Canterbury District Health Board senior responsible officer for Covid-19 Dr Helen Skinner said Canterbury-wide Saturday community-based testing centres conducted 938 covid swabs for testing on Saturday, followed by 689 on Sunday and 452 on Monday.

The number taken by the Ashburton community testing centre saw 83 people tested on Saturday, 56 people on Sunday and 39 on Monday.

“It’s important to note that these figures are for our community-based testing centres only, they exclude routine surveillance testing of border workers and do not include swabs taken by general practices in the community,” she said.

There was currently high demand for covid testing in Canterbury following cases of covid in the Auckland community, but testing was also available across general practice teams, with some having significant capacity currently, Dr Skinner said.

The Ashburton testing site will remain open 10am-2pm every day (until further notice).

People can check if their GP can provide Covid-19 testing by calling them or checking the Healthpoint website (www.healthpoint.co.nz).

“Please get tested if you visited a location of interest or have cold and flu symptoms,” Dr Skinner said.

In Canterbury more than 171,700 people have had their first dose of covid vaccination and more than 89,900 with their second; a total of more than 261,600 vaccinations.

There were currently 74 vaccination clinics operating throughout the community.

“Thanks to an outstanding effort from our vaccination teams, more than 10,000 vaccinations were provided to the Canterbury community over the weekend,” she said.