Te Whānau o Waipareira caters to demand in Covid-19 testing

By Jessica Tyson

There has been a major increase in demand at Auckland Covid-19 testing stations since the city moved into Alert Level 3 on Wednesday this week.

In total 3,546 people were swabbed at community testing centres across Auckland on Wednesday. That includes more than 700 taken by workers at the Te Whānau o Waipareira testing station in West Auckland, chief executive John Tamihere says.

"What we've got to do is stay calm, cool, collected and just manage this thing through in a caring way."

The increase in testing has resulted in traffic congestion at many testing sites across the city.

“You’ve got to keep in mind, if we’re swabbing one car every minute,, that’s 60 cars an hour and so the car queuing is significant and it causes road blockages and congestion elsewhere, so that causes stress and frustration.”

Tamihere says workers at their testing site in West Auckland are doing their best to deal with the congestion.

“We have the most efficient and effective Covid-19 testing system in the country. That because we’ve designed and developed our own software products to get all of the information first because when people come around in the cars all of the administrative details are done, so they just get swabbed.”

Māori wardens are also working to help with security.

“We’ve got 110 Māori wardens that we can turn out at any one time in the West. So we’re lucky to have a system that’s quite skilled and enriched and its Māori kaupapa-driven but it services the whole of the community.”

Auckland Transport says a number of Covid-19 testing sites are operating today, including new pop-up centres.

“There is traffic congestion around some of these sites and we would ask motorists to avoid them unless they are going for a test. Some bus services have had to be diverted because of congestion, particularly around the testing site in New North Rd and at Botany.”

Auckland Transport advises motorists that, under Alert Level 3, travel should be kept to a minimum.