COVID-19 testing station opens in Ōtara to answer Pacific community demand

By Jessica Tyson

A COVID-19 testing station has opened today in Ōtara, Auckland in response to the immediate need identified by the Pacific community.

South Seas Healthcare CEO Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo says it comes following an absence of access to a nearby testing station during the first two weeks of the lockdown.

“There [were] only two testing stations in South Auckland, these are in Takanini and Māngere.”

Vaisola-Sefo says the testing station will help alleviate additional pressure on families by helping them get tested in their own community. 

“Our local families had difficulties travelling that distance so we needed to address the immediate need that there wasn’t a testing station in Ōtara, Ōtāhuhu, Papatoetoe and Manukau area.”

The new testing station is located in the main Ōtara shopping centre car park next to the South Seas Healthcare Clinic.

“We urge only those who feel they have the COVID-19 symptoms to come to the testing station. All people meeting the suspect case definition for COVID-19 including doctors’ referral would be tested.”

Anyone who intends visiting the COVID-19 testing station, but is uncertain whether they meet the criteria, should first seek advice from Healthline (0800 358 5453) or their GP, Vaisola-Sefo says.

Staff support to resource the testing tent has been arranged by Counties Manukau DHB and Regional Public Health supported by South Seas Healthcare.

“We hope that a community testing station in Ōtara will provide a vital resource that will further reduce barriers to accessing COVID-19 testing and ensure that any identified cases can be closely monitored and managed to avoid community outbreak. For those who may need to self-isolate, we will refer them to services that can provide support.”