Testing, quarantine resources under pressure at Lakes DHB

4:54 pm on 14 August 2020

The head of the Lakes District Health Board has expressed concern the region would struggle to provide medical quarantine facilities for positive Covid-19 cases without compromising hospital activity.

Covid coronavirus testing station at the Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua.

People wait for Covid-19 testing at Rotorua International Stadium. Photo: RNZ/ Logan Church

Chief executive Nick Saville-Wood made the comments at a health board meeting this afternoon.

He said any requirement for quarantine for potential positive Covid-19 cases would be "very difficult" for the health board "without a serious reduction in our hospital activity".

That message had been conveyed to the Ministry of Health, he said.

He told the meeting there was also a "serious issue" with regard to resourcing for testing sites.

"It's not the money that counts here, it's getting the resources. Actually - nurses and health care assistants.

"We have been working with the Ministry [of Health] on if they have some access to some more."

Elective surgeries were still going "full throttle" under level 2, he said.

He said the positive Covid-19 case in Tokoroa had caused "a little bit of concern" as it was very likely those people were also in Rotorua on the weekend at the Pasifika event. (Earlier this afternoon Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield revealed there are now two positive cases in Tokoroa.)

"We have put on an additional clinic … at the events centre and we have encouraged the Pasifika community to come and be swabbed."

Nick Saville-Wood, new chief executive of the Lakes District Health Board. 20 May 2019 ef executive Nick Saville-Wood. Photo / File

Nurses and health care assistants are needed at the Lakes DHB, CEO Nick Saville-Wood says. Photo: Rotorua Daily Post

He said the two testing centres in Rotorua had had a "torrid start".

"On Wednesday it was only one, and we had to rapidly start increasing resources within that centre.

"At the same time we were planning - and got permission, once again, from the Rotorua Council - to utilise the stadium as a second centre.

"There, we quite rapidly found that the four different teams that we had dealing with lines of cars wasn't sufficient, and during the day [Thursday] we advanced that to eight different teams."

Saville-Wood said 700 results had been returned so far and "touch wood, no positive cases".

"That's a good thing, but I don't believe the pressure on those testing stations will reduce at all."

The Lakes DHB had also worked with Korowai Aroha Health Centre and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao to set up a stand up testing centre at a marae, testing 120 people, he said.

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