Long queues as people flock to be tested for Covid – The Bay’s News First – SunLive

There are reports of long queues of cars as people wait to be tested at testing stations around the Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions on Sunday morning. 

Cars have been lining up since early this morning at the Baypark community-based Covid-19 testing station, as new cases and locations of interest were announced on Saturday by the Ministry of Health.

Eight new cases were reported in Bay of Plenty and seven in Lakes on Saturday, as the outbreak continues to spread.

Katikati Medical Centre which is operating a drive-thru swab clinic from 9am – 1pm today is also experiencing high demand following new cases of Covid-19 in the township.

If you have symptoms drive in to Katikati Medical Centre’s staff car park between 9am-1pm. Wear a mask, lower all windows, turn your AC off and bring your NHI number if you know it,” says a Katikati Medical Centre spokesperson.

Baypark Community Based Covid-19 Testing Station is open today from 10am – 3pm. The testing centre is at the bay of the Arena by the Blo Karts.

The Katikati Medical Centre is open today for testing from 9am – 1pm.

In Whakatane, the testing clinic is open today from 10am – 3pm at the Old Wally Sutherland Building, 266 The Strand, Whakatane.

Taupō Covid-19 Community Testing Centre, 79 Miro Street, Taupō is open today from 8.30am – 3pm.

Rotorua Covid-19 Community Testing Centre, Copthorne Hotel, Entrance off Ward Avenue, Rotorua is open from 8.30am – 3pm.

Vaccination clinics

Vaccination clinics open on Sunday are listed on Healthpoint at https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19-vaccination/bay-of-plenty

In Tauranga Central – the Covid Vaccination Centre at 87 First Avenue, Tauranga is open from 8am – 5pm.

Tauranga Crossing Shopping Centre at 2 Taurikura Drive also has a vaccination clinic today from 9am – 6pm.

220130 Jacinda Ardern(1)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is self-isolating after being confirmed as a Covid close contact. She was on the same flight from Kerikeri to Auckland on Saturday, January 22 as someone who has since tested positive for the virus.

Ardern is to have a Covid test on Sunday, and will isolate until at least Tuesday. On Saturday she had no Covid symptoms.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health reported 97 new Covid community cases. At that time 116 community cases had been confirmed as being the Omicron variant, but that number was expected to rise as genome sequencing is completed. Most Omicron cases so far have been linked to private events in Auckland, including several weddings.

Supermarket workers say food retailers are woefully underprepared for the Omicron outbreak in the face of short staffing, increased workloads and burnout. A worker at a Countdown store in Waikato said that once the Omicron wave hit, it would be “bedlam, quite frankly”. “We will run out of stuff and the shelves will be empty.”

An excess of staff is among the things needed to keep supply chains working during an Omicron wave, a University of Auckland professor says. But the ability of businesses to build a human resources buffer is limited. The labour market is very tight and workers are tired.

With experts warning Auckland could see 1800 cases a day at Omicron’s peak, south Auckland communities are gearing up to once again bear the brunt of the outbreak. It feels like a “tsunami” is coming, Turuki Healthcare chief executive Te Puea Winiata says.

Award-winning New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi is back in New Zealand after making a heartfelt plea three months ago that Kiwis get vaccinated so that he can come home and see his mother. Waititi posted a photo on Instagram seemingly of people inside an MIQ hotel getting tested for Covid-19.

The Prime Minister’s office gave Māori health providers little more than 24 hours notice ahead of a whirlwind October trip promoting vaccination. Emails obtained under the Official Information Act show planning for the October 7 trip began less than two days earlier.

Thermometers, wine and panadol are among the items Kiwis are stocking up on as they prepare for the spread of Omicron. A survey of items recommended for the home isolation shopping basket shows it could cost at least $400 to survive three weeks at home, and many New Zealanders say they’ve either stocked up or are ready to.

Pensioners have been heading for the security of retirement villages during the Covid pandemic.

“We found that during, and immediately after the lockdown, the number of inquiries about moving to a retirement village dramatically shot up,” says Retirement Villages Association executive director John Collyns.

Vaccination rates

Latest data from the Ministry of Health shows 94 per cent of those eligible are classed as being fully vaccinated, while 96 per cent are at least partially vaccinated.

In its Saturday afternoon update, MOH said 46,271 booster doses were administered on Friday, taking the total to 1,257,758. Also on Friday, 12,860 paediatric doses were administered, taking the total to 150,207.

Global toll

Data from Johns Hopkins University on Sunday morning put the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide at 371.6 million, while 5.65m people are counted as having died from the virus. Nearly 9.94 billion vaccine doses had been administered.

In the past 28 days the US had nearly 19.3m cases and 55,268 deaths, while France had 8.5m cases and 6542 deaths in the past 28 days, and India had almost 6m cases and 11,718 deaths.

What should I do?

Anyone who wants to get tested can find their local testing centres by visiting the Ministry of Health website.

Quarantine-free travel from Australia has been suspended.

People should use the Covid-19 tracer app.

If you are sick, call your GP before you visit, or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

To avoid contracting and spreading the virus, wash your hands properly, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow and throw tissues away immediately.

Reach out, find support from people who care, connect with your community or help a neighbour in need.