25 Jul 2021

Lukewarm response to Covid-19 testing plea in Taranaki

12:58 pm on 25 July 2021

Taranaki health officials are hoping more people turn up to get a Covid-19 test after abysmal numbers yesterday.

A Covid-19 testing station in New Plymouth.

A Covid-19 testing site that was in use in New Plymouth earlier this year. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Traces of the coronavirus have been detected in wastewater in the New Plymouth area and the Ministry of Health is trying to rule out the possibility of cases in the community.

The Taranaki DHB said only 80 people from Hawera to New Plymouth were tested yesterday. By 11.45am today, just another 70 had been tested.

Health officials are urging anyone in Taranaki with cold or flu symptoms to get a Covid-19 test, as well as people who have recently returned from Australia.

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles has also urged anyone in Taranaki with any hint of Covid-like symptoms to get tested.

"It's just a really important reminder that people, if they have any symptoms that could be Covid-19, go and get tested. They don't just think 'oh it's not in the community in New Zealand so I won't bother'."

Dr Wiles said an outbreak like that in Australia could happen here if transmission hasn't been detected.

Anyone with symptoms consistent with Covid-19 is advised to call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

ESR tests wastewater throughout the country as part of an "additional surveillance tool", the ministry said. Further testing has been carried out and results are expected tomorrow.

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