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COVID-19 testing at Port of Tauranga under way

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board will begin COVID-19 surveillance testing for all Port of Tauranga workers from noon today, Monday, August 17.

DHB and primary health staff, in collaboration with the Port of Tauranga, have worked hard during the weekend to set up a testing station on-site at the port, to ensure sufficient capacity to test all required workers.

The testing facility is for port workers only and is not for the general public. There are approximately 6000 port workers from many different companies. Port workers with symptoms of COVID-19 should go to their GP to get tested, as anyone who is unwell is asked to stay away from their workplace.

DHB incident controller Dr Joe Bourne says they will be prioritising port workers who have been on-board a vessel in the last 14 days and/or those who have been in direct contact with crew.

"We have agreed a flexible approach with the Ministry of Health and will be testing throughout the week. As such, port workers will not be penalised if they are unable to get tested for COVID-19 before midnight  tonight, as was previously the case."

Port workers will be contacted by their company to allocate them a testing slot.

"We will be collecting a large number of swabs this week throughout the DHB region and therefore we will need to prioritise processing. Please be patient. Port workers do not need to stand down from work while awaiting swab results," Dr Bourne says.

The testing facility at Port of Tauranga is a dedicated facility for port workers only. Family members of port workers don't need to be tested if they are well. Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms is advised to contact their GP or Healthline for COVID-19 testing information.

"I would like to thank local iwi, the Port of Tauranga and its associated companies and our primary health organisations for their help and to all port workers for their cooperation during this time."

Dr Bourne says a team of registered nurses and support staff is on-site at the testing facility. "We will be monitoring how the process is working and will make adjustments as needed so that the testing runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible."

Non-port workers should call their GP or Healthline for COVID-19 testing information and they will be directed to the appropriate place for testing if required.

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