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Balclutha and Waitaki residents urged to get tested

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Southern DHB’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Jack is urging residents in Balclutha and Waitaki to participate in pop-up community surveillance testing this week.

Following a request from the Ministry of Health, planned COVID-19 testing continues to be rolled out across the Southern District, as health authorities, local councils, Iwi, Pacific communities and port companies all contribute to the efforts of ensuring there is no COVID-19 in the region.

Pop-up drive-through surveillance testing will take place in: 

  • Balclutha on Thursday 10 September, at Cross Recreation Centre, 18 Glasgow St, from 10am to 4pm;
  • Oamaru on Saturday 12 September, at Centennial Park Oamaru, 10am to 3pm.

This follows pop up surveillance testing in Gore last week where 400 people were tested, and previous testing in Queenstown and Milford.

Dr Jack said the Southern District was one of the hardest hit in New Zealand during the first wave of COVID-19, with 216 cases and sadly two people had died from the virus.

“COVID-19 affected people in many of our Southern cities, towns and small communities and we want to make sure it hasn’t made its way to these towns undetected.

“By getting tested Balclutha and Waitaki residents are helping us build a better picture of what is going on in the Southern region.”

The pop-up community testing is an opportunity for anyone in the community, with or without symptoms, to have a COVID-19 test.  Anyone who has cold and flu symptoms now should not wait for the pop-up testing but are asked to immediately contact their GP or 0800VIRUS19 to arrange a COVID test.

WellSouth Medical Director Dr Stephen Graham urged people not to be complacent:

"Testing only takes a few minutes, it's free and you are helping ensure our communities are COVID-free." 

Over the past few weeks testing has also been conducted at Southern Ports, both of workers and maritime crew.

Dr Jack thanked all those involved in the testing, especially WellSouth, local councils, Iwi, Pacific communities and port authorities.

“This is a community effort to keep our community safe, and we appreciate everyone playing their part,” she said.