A Covid-19 testing station has opened in south Auckland suburb Ōtara today to target the Pacific community.
The station will be open every day of the week from 8am to 3pm in the main Ōtara Shopping Centre car park, where the Otara Saturday Markets would normally operate, next to the South Seas Healthcare clinic.
The chief executive of South Seas Healthcare Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo said there were only two testing stations in South Auckland - in Takanini and Māngere - making it difficult for some families to travel the distance for testing.
Lemalu said he wants to reduce the barriers for Pacific families getting tested by ensuring they can get help in their own community.
- If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre
The testing station will enable health providers to provide ongoing, additional support during the lockdown, he said.
"Things like employment, income in the house, basic necessities like food, and where there are families with young babies, they can get support with formula."
He said access to information was another barrier for some families, who weren't getting the information they needed in their language.
Lemalu said their are health workers from Pacific communities on site now that can bridge that divide.
He is urging only those who feel they have the Covid-19 symptoms to come to the testing station and to first seek advice from Healthline or their GP if they are unsure.