SDHB making testing plans

Plans are being formulated by the Southern District Health Board to continue testing asymptomatic people in Queenstown for Covid-19 as the school holidays begin.

At the Covid-19 update yesterday, director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said district health boards with tourist hot spots in their areas had been asked to establish mobile surveillance testing for Covid-19 to target people in the service and tourism industries.

The testing would form part of a Ministry of Health strategy to focus on people around New Zealand likely to come into contact with Aucklanders.

Dr Bloomfield said testing was particularly important during the school holidays.

Air New Zealand announced it would fly at 125% of pre-Covid-19 levels during the holidays and last week told the Otago Daily Times 17,000 flights were sold on Queenstown routes when the Government dropped social distancing requirements on planes.

Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Susan Jack said options were being considered for continued testing; an update would be provided when plans were finalised.

Dr Jack said anybody experiencing symptoms should call their GP or 0800VIRUS19 to be referred for a test at the Queenstown Medical Centre or the Wakatipu Medical Centre.

A question about whether a new plan would specifically address Dr Bloomfield’s requirement to test tourism staff was not directly answered by the health board, but a spokeswoman later said it was clear any plans for testing would include hospitality and tourism staff.

matthew.mckew@odt.co.nz

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