Malcolm Street Covid-19 community testing centre closing 16 December
After one year, thousands of PCR tests administered and tens of thousands of rapid antigen tests distributed, the Malcolm Street Covid-19 Community Testing Centre in Dunedin is winding down operations and closing its doors on 16 December.
“RAT tests are the primary method of testing for Covid and there are a multitude of collections sites across the district to ensure residents and visitors have ready access to tests and masks free of charge,” says WellSouth Clinical Director, Dr Carol Atmore.
Free RAT tests and masks can be collected at more than 50 locations across the district, including 16 community sites in Dunedin. As of 20 December, the Dunedin Immunisation Centre – Te Puna Āraimate ki Ōtepoti (the Former VTNZ testing centre) at 153-155 Hanover Street, will become a RAT test collection location and will also offer PCR testing.
PCR testing and supervised RAT tests, with a clinical assessment for priority and vulnerable people, remain available in general practices.
“Covid continues to circulate in our community and will likely increase as people move around over the holiday period. It is really important for people to have tests and masks on hand, to test if they have cold and flu-like symptoms or if they are a household contact. It is also really important to report a positive RAT test result. This helps us to capture the spread of the virus and Covid positive patients qualify for funded care – including, in some cases, oral antiviral medications,” Dr Atmore says, who also encourages people to start planning how they might manage Covid infection over the holiday period.
A year of extremes
Covid Testing Centre Clinical Lead Bevan Taiaroa says having the CTC up and running in advance of Covid arriving in Dunedin in late February, and its location near to the tertiary precinct and Dunedin Hospital, have been vital in supporting people to access Covid testing and helping reduce the spread of the virus.
“06 December was our first day open and we did 23 swabs, but in the early days of the outbreak in February in Dunedin that increased to 845 in one day – 3718 for the week. We had queues of cars and walk-in clients stretching 400 metres down the road.
“When RAT testing initially took off we were dispensing 2000-3000 RATs per day. Now, it’s more like 10 a day.”
More than 40 staff were trained to work as swabbers at the testing site and over the year the team has worked in a range of conditions from 36C one summer day and -3C in winter.
The Malcolm Street testing site is one of the last CTCs to close: Awarua Whānau Services closed its testing centre in Invercargill earlier this month while Te Kaika’s testing and immunisation centres in South Dunedin and Queenstown closed earlier in the year. The Engage Safety CTC in Frankton closed this week as well.
“We are grateful to all providers who worked to keep our communities safe, through Covid testing, vaccinations, and Covid Care in the Community work. That the Southern region has managed so well over the past 12-plus months is due to so many general practice teams, Māori and Pacific providers, community pharmacies and other providers contributing to the cause,” says Dr Atmore.
Southern Region Covid Testing Locations
All RAT test collection sites are listed on the HealthPoint website
Dunedin has 12 sites to collect RAT tests:
- McNaughton’s Pharmacy
- Caversham Pharmacy
- Unichem Mornington Pharmacy
- Anderson’s Exchange Pharmacy
- Roslyn Pharmacy
- Green Island Boutique Pharmacy
- Antidote Octagon
- Antidote North
- Antidote Meridian
- Countdown Pharmacy Dunedin Central
- Antidote MacAndrew
- Antidote Gardens
- Dunedin Immunisation Centre – Te Puna Āraimate ki Ōtepoti (20 December)
A number of community libraries will also serve as collection sites in the coming weeks.
Reporting a Positive Rat Test
If you test positive for Covid-19 it is important to report your RAT test result via https://mycovidrecord.health.nz/. Results can also be reported by calling 0800 222 478 option 3.
Reporting a positive result helps health agencies understand the spread of the virus, and it also means you can receive funded (free) care from your GP or health provider.
If you test positive for Covid, you need to isolate for seven days. Your household contacts do not need to isolate, but they should continue to test daily for Covid.