| 27 Aug 2020

South Canterbury COVID-19 Testing Update

The South Canterbury General Practices and the COVID-19 Testing Clinic have completed a total of 1,456 COVID-19 tests from Wednesday 12 August 2020, when all regions in New Zealand except for the Auckland moved to Alert Level 2 until 4pm on Wednesday 26 August 2020.

Nigel Trainor, Chief Executive would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the health care workers who have done an excellent job setting up and running the COVID-19 Testing Clinic. I would like to acknowledge and thank the general practices in South Canterbury who have also completed a large number of swabs in the past fortnight.

“A big thank you for everyone who has been tested over the last two weeks, they have all played a part in helping us confirm if there are any people in our community with COVID-19”.

If you had a COVID-19 test because you have symptoms, please remain in isolation while you await your results. If your result is negative, it is important to stay home while you’re sick. Do not go to work or school and do not socialise.

If you have been tested as part of the surveillance work at the port you are not required to self-isolate as this surveillance testing was only for asymptomatic (healthy people) port staff as directed by the Ministry of Health.

The COVID-19 Testing Clinic Is Now Closed

The COVID-19 Testing Clinic located at the Baptist Church, 17 Wilson Street, Timaru had its last day on Wednesday 26 August 2020.

Testing and assessment for COVID-19 and other respiratory or flu like illnesses will continue to be performed by the general practices in South Canterbury.

The Mobile Testing Service will still be available to carry out the port surveillance testing of asymptomatic (healthy people) as directed by the Ministry of Health.

Who should get tested COVID-19?  

If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your GP or Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 to check if you need to get tested for COVID-19. They will let you know the next steps and whether you should get a test. If they tell you to get tested, you should stay home while you wait for your test.

COVID-19 symptoms:

  • A new or worsening cough
  • A fever of at least 38°C
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Temporary loss of smell.

Please remember all COVID-19 related care is free for anyone with symptoms, or people who are been asked to be tested as part of our asymptomatic surveillance testing, irrespective of citizenship, visa status, nationality or level of medical insurance coverage.

Contact Tracing

If someone has COVID-19, the Public Health Unit will look for anyone else who may have been in contact with them, to see if they have also been infected. This process is called contact tracing.

Contact tracing allows for testing, isolation and treatment to be undertaken if required. It is a key part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy.

There are 2 types of contacts:

*        Close contacts
*        Casual contacts.

Public Health services will give advice to both of these types of contacts on what they need to do.

Contact tracing involves a phone call from the Ministry or Public Health Unit who will provide advice on self-isolation as well as checking up on people’s health and wellbeing.

It is important to answer your phone, so the Public Health Unit, Ministry or Healthline can get in touch with you during this time. These calls will come from 09 801 3009, 09 801 3010 or 09 302 0408

People can help make contact tracing easier for health officials by keeping a record of where they go and who they meet. We encourage people to use the NZ COVID Tracer app, or keep a manual record if they do not have a smart-phone.

Health & Wellbeing

While uncertainty can be unsettling, there are some things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe, which can give us a sense of control and help us to be calm:

  • Continue to practice good hand hygiene - it is a simple and effective tool to keep COVID-19 at bay
  • Remember to physical distance from other people when you’re out in public, including on transport - 2 metres when in public and 1 metre at work
  • Take a COVID-19 test if you’re offered one
  • Remember to be kind to each other and check up on friends, family and neighbours.

Remember to look after your mental wellbeing - It's totally normal to feel a bit shaken and on-edge right now. These are truly extraordinary times.

There are some free apps and online self-help tools to help you manage your mental wellbeing. Looking after yourself now means you are more likely to stay well down the track.

Media contact:

Karen Berry
Communications Manager
South Canterbury District Health Board
P: 03 687 2395 | M: 021 139 7442