13 Apr 2020

Whanganui DHB to expand testing after low numbers

3:35 pm on 13 April 2020

The Whanganui District Health Board will target essential workers in a bid to ramp up its Covid-19 testing.

A nurse from the Gerard Noet analysis laboratory in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, performs a coronavirus screening test known as pcr test on drive-in patients.

Photo: AFP

The region has some of the lowest testing numbers nationally, but its chief medical officer, Dr Patrick O'Connor, said that was because few people approaching testing centres were symptomatic.

He said following a meeting with Ministry of Health officials this morning, the DHB would seek to expand its testing threshold, but that would not include testing asymptomatic people.

"There's no need, we're a small district, we're geographically dispersed ... there's no evidence of community spreads and we're very confident in the approach we've taken to date."

  • 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 DHB swabbed 380 people for Covid-19 at community centres between 19 March and 10 April.

The clinical lead for Whanganui's community testing centres, Dr Paul Nealis, said they were being more liberal with testing than other districts.

They were also following up with people who presented but were not tested with a phone call or face-to-face meeting to check how they were doing.

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