More free drop in COVID testing and flu vaccination clinics
26/05/2020 4:11:18 p.m.

Another series of free drop-in clinics to test for COVID-19, get a flu vaccination (priority groups) or swab for a sore throat (aged 3-35 years) is happening in Rotorua and Taupo.

There has been one in Rotorua at Whakarewarewa on Friday 22 May (see photo) with another in Taupo this Friday 29 May and another in Rotorua in Koutu on Friday 5 June. 

There was a great community response to the drive-thru clinic at Whakarewarewa on Friday. The Lakes DHB Public Health nursing team carried out 66 swabs and Korowai Aroha nurses administered 42 flu vaccinations. There were also 110 hygiene packs handed out by the Te Arawa Whanau Ora Collective. 

Lakes DHB Pouwhakarite Maori Health, Lauren James says anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to drop in from 10am to 12pm. You can drive through with your car, but if you bike or walk you will also be tested, she says.

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.

Sore throats are important too, so if you are aged 3 to 35 years old, and have a sore throat, drop in to get your throat swabbed to check for strep A which if untreated can lead to rheumatic fever.
Lauren James says the drop-in clinics are an example of how services working collaboratively can achieve great outcomes. The aim of the clinics is to increase testing of Maori in line with Lakes DHB’s strategic goal of Achieving Equity in Maori Health. However engagement has occurred from all sectors of the community, so the drop-ins have been very successful, Lauren James says.

“Taking the swabbing service and flu vaccinations into the community with drop-in clinics has worked well to make it more accessible to our whanau,” she says.

Korowai nurses in Rotorua and Pinnacle Midland Health Network nurses in Taupo are giving priority groups flu vaccinations.

Priority groups include: people aged 65 years and older, hapu māmā , people with chronic medical conditions, children aged four years or under with a history of significant respiratory illness, and children under five years who were hospitalised with measles
In Rotorua, the Public Health nursing team is providing the COVID-19 swab testing and Korowai Aroha nurses are doing the flu vaccinations. 

In Taupo, Whanau Ora Navigators from both Te Korowai Roopu Tautoko and Tūwharetoa Health Charitable Trust were on site to provide information for support services. The Taupo drop-in clinic is a collaboration between Lakes DHB, Te Kapua Whakapīpī, Tūwharetoa Health Charitable Trust and Pinnacle Midland Health Network.

Friday 22 May
10am-12pm Whakarewarewa – Te Rau Aroha car park
Friday 29 May
10am-12pm Taupo – Rifle Range and Lake Terrace – Opposite fire station
Friday 5 June
10am-12pm Te Koutu Marae – Marae Street, Koutu