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Southern Medical Officer of Health urges the public to remain vigilant – and get tested if they are sick

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The only way we’ll know if COVID-19 has made its way to the South is if people are tested for the disease, says Southern DHB Medical Officer of Heath Dr Susan Jack.

As Auckland moves from Alert Level 4 to Level 3, Dr Jack is urging the public to remain vigilant as part of protecting the South from COVID-19.

Dr Jack says it’s more important than ever to stay at home and get tested if people have any COVID-19 symptoms, however mild. They should either call 0800 VIRUS-19 (0800 847 8719) or their GP to arrange a COVID-19 test. Testing is quick and it’s free.

“The borders are well managed, but are not watertight, COVID is a tricky virus and we can’t be complacent so COVID-19 testing is extremely important to ensure there is no community transmission in the district.

“Although we’re now at Alert Level 2 we also still need to remember to follow the Alert Level 2 rules. We know the Delta strain is highly infectious, and can spread by airborne transmission to infect someone within seconds.  So please wear a mask when you leave the house where you can’t distance, when you are in the premises where a mask is required under Alert Level 2, remember to scan everywhere you go, and don’t forget the importance of good hand hygiene. All these measures will protect yourselves and others.”

Dr Jack is also urging anyone who is eligible and who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to book their first vaccination this week. Vaccinations are free and available to anyone in New Zealand aged 12 and over. It’s easy to book and there are lots of places to get a vaccinated. Bookings can be made online: or by calling 0800 28 29 26.

“So far 78.3% of eligible Southern residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, and 43.5% are fully vaccinated. Southerners have done a fantastic job in getting vaccinated but we need everyone who is eligible to do their bit and have the vaccine so we can get to 90% or higher as soon as possible.

“Summer is coming and we all want to enjoy it especially young people who will be looking forward to going to festivals. Young people, please go and get vaccinated if you already haven’t. You still have a bit more vaccinating to do to catch up with our older people, so if we all want to move down alert levels and enjoy summer events, the best thing you can do is get vaccinated now.

“This will help to protect ourselves and others should community transmission happen, and when we start to open up our borders. The sooner we get vaccinated the more protected our population will be to deal with outbreaks.

“Our vaccination rates are one of the best in the country, and this has only been made possible by the hard work of more than 110 providers, including general practices, pharmacies and Māori and Pacific Health Providers across the district vaccinating our community – we are hugely grateful to them. We are also hugely grateful to all Southerners who have done their bit and been vaccinated.”