Tauranga's makeshift Covid-19 testing centre, currently set up at the Tauranga racecourse, will be moved to Baypark from Friday.

The Tauranga Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC) opened at the racecourse last Tuesday.

"It's a case of front-footing any potential rise in the numbers seeking assessment by moving to a location which has got much greater capacity for scaling up should that be necessary," Bay of Plenty Community Based Health Services (BOPCBHS) Lead Dr Joe Bourne said in a statement today.

The opening hours for the CBAC at the new venue - Trustpower Baypark Stadium, 81 Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui – will remain the same, 9am-6pm. The existing CBAC, at Tauranga Racecourse, will close at 6pm on Thursday night.

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The existing testing centre at Tauranga Racecourse will close at 6pm on Thursday night. Photo / File
The existing testing centre at Tauranga Racecourse will close at 6pm on Thursday night. Photo / File

The move comes in response to the Ministry of Health's announcement today that the case definition for those being assessed at the CBACs has been broadened.

It now states that anyone with respiratory symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should be tested regardless of travel or contact with a confirmed case.

Bourne said this broadening of the case definition for those being assessed was likely to increase the numbers being seen at the centres.

Over the past seven days the average number of those seeking assessment at the Tauranga testing centre was 120 per day, with the facility ideally suited to seeing about 150.

Bourne said the Baypark site could handle up to 500 per day.

"This is part of our planning to help keep our communities safe," he said.

Bourne said there would be no change in the location of the Whakatāne site, at Whakatane War Memorial Hall, as it still had the capacity for growth in assessment numbers if required.

He added that plans which would enable assessment to be provided in more rural communities were continuing.

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