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Southerners with cold/flu symptoms urged to get tested

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With new community cases of COVID-19 in Auckland, Southern DHB’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Michael Butchard is reminding Southerners to get tested if they have any cold or flu symptoms.

“While there is no information indicating an increased risk in our region from the Auckland cases, it is an important reminder that we must remain vigilant.

“The best way we can do this is for anyone with cold and flu symptoms, however minor, to call 0800VIRUS19 to arrange for a FREE test.  Phone lines will be staffed over the weekend between 9am to noon, and weekdays from 9am to 4pm.

“Southerners are stoic and don’t want to overreact, but by getting a COVID-19 test to check even minor symptoms, you are helping protect our wider community. The simple act of an individual deciding to get a test is what has uncovered New Zealand’s recent outbreaks over the past months.   

“Please also maintain good hand hygiene, with regular handwashing or use of hand sanitizer, remember to cough/sneeze into your elbow and keep using the COVID tracer app or contract tracing sheets to record your movements.  If you are sick, stay home until you are symptom free,” he said.

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." 

Dr Butchard praised the response of Southerners to the COVID-19 threat so far, saying that their sense of community responsibility and willingness to respond to public health messaging was encouraging.

ENDS.

For further information, please contact: Southern DHB Senior Communications Advisor Eirwen Harris Mitchell, on 027 8364 718 or email: eirwen.mitchell@southerndhb.govt.nz