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WHILE it had been decided Invercargill’s Covid-19 drive-through testing centre would not reopen this week, the call was made to again provide the supplementary testing site.

The Invercargill Community Based Testing Centre (CBTC) resumed operations to ensure there was convenient access to Covid-19 testing.

The drive-through testing centre was not a drop-in clinic but supplemented swabbing capacity in general practices. It would provide support for at least the next two weeks.

WellSouth chief executive Andrew Swanson Dobbs said people should still contact their GP first, or phone the 800 VIRUS 19 call centre. Symptomatic people would be referred for testing.

“While general practices continue to provide the vast majority of Covid-19 testing in the region, CBTCs are another option for swabbing, ensuring it’s convenient to get tested for as many people as possible.”

Southern DHB medical officer of health Dr Susan Jack said the extra support would increase testing numbers and help keep Southern communities safe.

“It’s cold and flu season, so it’s really helpful that the CBTCs provide another option for testing at a time when we’re strongly encouraging people with symptoms to get tested.

“We appreciate that primary care is working together to make Covid-19 testing available and accessible.”

In Invercargill, there were 60 tests done at the drive-through CBTC at the weekend. It opened on Wednesday, August 12, and the team working there said testing had been steady, with 209 tests conducted from Wednesday to Sunday.

A WellSouth spokeswoman said all went well.

“It was busy but manageable and people and general practices appreciated the additional access to testing at a time when the quick change in alert levels saw an increase in demand.

“Throughout Covid-19, communities across Southland have been very supportive and willing to do their part to help ensure we all stay safe and healthy.”

The centre at the WellSouth offices at 40 Clyde St in Invercargill reopened on Wednesday, operating from 1pm to 4pm, weekdays, and 10am to 1pm, Saturday and Sunday.

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