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COVID-19 testing process made easier

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Testing for COVID-19 in Palmerston North had been made easier than ever, with people experiencing mild symptoms now able to get a free swab at the 575 Main Street testing site without needing to phone for an appointment.

Despite the MidCentral region moving to Alert Level 1, health officials say the resurgence of COVID-19 remains a real threat in our communites.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Robert Weir said although our communities had done a good job of containing COVID-19, it was very important to not become complacent.
“As we have seen in Auckland, and in cases around the world, it does not take much for COVID-19 to spread through a community. It is important we maintain a high level of confidence that it is not here and we can do this by continuing to be tested.
“By making access to the 575 Main Street testing site simpler, we are hoping more  people will get tested. I strongly encourgage anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, to get a test as soon as possible.”
Dr Weir said the Main Street testing site provides testing from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, so anyone who presented during that time could get their free test. The site is also open between 10am and 2pm on weekends, with the ability to increase the hours if needed.
General Practice Teams throughout the MidCentral region are still able to provide free COVID-19 tests as well. Access to these tests can be made by calling your GP Team or Healthline.
“In general, if your symptoms are more severe than mild, then the best course of action is to phone your GP Team or Healthline for advice,” Dr Weir said.
Surveillance testing also continues within the region, most recently at Palmerston North Airport and the Distinction Hotel in Palmerston North, which both held pop-ups for any staff wanting to get tested last week. Further surveillance testing for staff at hotels and at Aged Resident Care facilities is planned for this week.
COVID-19 symptoms include: coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, high temperature (at least 38˚C), shortness of breath or temporary loss of smell.
Dr Weir said the testing teams wanted  to reach into communities and population groups who may not have easy access to testing or who were at a higher risk if they contracted COVID-19, such as Māori and Pasifika people, those aged over 65, as well as members of the community who live with a chronic illness, such as respiratory disease, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
More information about COVID-19 in the MidCentral district can be found on our website     
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The testing team suited up at Palmerston North Airport last week.

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