Plenty of COVID-19 testing capacity in Lakes DHB
23/04/2020 5:07:57 p.m.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Plenty of COVID-19 testing capacity in Lakes DHB

Lakes DHB is encouraging anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to ring the Lakes COVID-19 Assessment line 0800 267 847 to be tested.

Lakes DHB Incident Controller Gary Lees says the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. Symptoms include:

• a cough
• a fever (at least 38°C)
• shortness of breath
• sore throat
• a head cold, e.g. sneezing, runny nose
• temporary loss of smell.

Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. 

Testing is free and can be done quickly. Simply call the Lakes COVID-19 Assessment Helpline on 0800 267 847. Leave a message and someone will get back to you and book an appointment if required.

You will be asked a series of questions and if referred for a test, be given an appointment and told where to go for the test. The test is usually offered the same day as the referral, with only those arriving late in the day, having to be booked the next morning.

Gary Lees says currently Lakes DHB has plenty of capacity to do more tests at its swabbing clinics in both Taupo and Rotorua.

Everyone who is referred through the Lakes Assessment line is offered a test. Lakes DHB is also planning to take the testing service to community and rural locations, to increase the accessibility of the service.

Gary Lees says the MoH has directed asymptomatic (no symptoms) testing in a number of DHBs with significant clusters however Lakes DHB was not included in this. Random or surveillance testing is being done by some DHBs with significant clusters, but this has not been approved or directed by the MoH for Lakes DHB.

Lakes DHB applies the current MoH case definition of testing any patient who has symptoms, no matter how minor. Lakes DHB will continue to test patients who have any symptoms.

Our Community Based Assessment Centres (CBACS) and carry out swab tests if necessary as well as a clinical assessment for people who are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms.

Gary Lees says the community can be assured that we can do more tests, so if more people are referred, they can be accommodated.