Pop-up testing in Queenstown exceeds expectations

The number of people to get tested at a pop-up site in Queenstown has exceeded exceeded expectations, with more than 400 getting swabbed by noon.

The pop-up testing site at  Frankton Pak’nSave was set up in the car park and is set to run until 5pm. Yesterday WellSouth said it aimed to get 300 people through.

It was opened earlier than 9am due to long lines and as of about 9.15am there were long vehicle and pedestrian queues full of people waiting to get a swab.

Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said in today's Covid update that by noon more than 400 people had been tested at the pop-up site.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said going to the GP was a barrier for some people getting tests and more pop-up testing like today's in Queenstown would occur.

The pop-up testing site was set-up to reassure health authorities there is no community transmission in the town after a visit in early July from a South Korean man who later tested positive for Covid-19 after flying back home.

Medical staff are testing people for Covid-19 at a pop-up facility in Queenstown this morning....
Medical staff are testing people for Covid-19 at a pop-up facility in Queenstown this morning. Photo: Hugh Collins
Dr Bloomfield yesterday shared a video urging Queenstown residents to do their bit and get a Covid-19 test, as authorities try to rule out the possibility of undetected community transmission in the town.

Dr Bloomfield shared the video yesterday after it was earlier revealed by the Ministry of Health there were two new Covid-19 cases in managed isolation.

"I’m strongly encouraging you, if you have symptoms, or even if you don’t have symptoms, to go to the Pak’nSave ... to have a test.

"Please do your bit, go and get a swab [today]," Dr Bloomfield said in the video.

There were long lines at the pop-up testing spot at Frankton Pak 'n' Save this morning. Photo:...
There were long lines at the pop-up testing spot at Frankton Pak 'n' Save this morning. Photo: Hugh Collins
Organisers of the pop-up testing and Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult also urged people to get tested.

WellSouth chief executive Andrew Swanson-Dobbs said it aimed to get 300 people there and anybody could get a test.

“We hope there are no more people in the community with Covid — we want to prove that the town is Covid-free.”

The blitz comes after a man who stayed in Queenstown from July 1 to July 4 later tested positive for Covid-19.

Mayor Jim Boult
Mayor Jim Boult, Photo: ODT files

Mr Boult asked employers to encourage their staff to get tested and allow employees time off to do so, RNZ reported.

A WellSouth spokeswoman said 250 Covid-19 swabs were taken in the Southern district on Friday.

Far fewer tests were carried out at the weekend - 58 on Saturday and 31 on Sunday.

By mid-afternoon yesterday, 126 swabs had been taken.

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