Northland's community-based testing centres and mobile testing stations will continue operating through July.
The Northland District Health Board (NDHB) confirmed the region's six community-based testing centres (CBTCs) and eight mobile testing stations will remain operational throughout the month, and will be reviewed at a later date to determine how long they will continue operating.
Northland CBTCs information:
• Whangārei: 79 Okara Drive. Open Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 9am-2pm
• Dargaville: Awakino Rd. Open Wednesday, 9am-2pm (as of July 13)
• Kaitaia: 29 Redan Rd. Open Wednesday, 9am-2pm (as of July 13)
• Kerikeri: 43 Cobham Rd. Open Wednesday, 9am-2pm (as of July 13)
• Kaikohe: RSA carpark. Open Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm
• Kawakawa: Raynor St. Open Monday-Saturday, 10am-2pm
The eight mobile testing stations, run by a variety of Māori health providers, service the Far North, Hokianga, Kaikohe, Kawakawa, Moerewa, Kaipara, Kaitaia and Kaeo. As well as Covid-19 testing, the stations provided flu vaccinations and general health and wellbeing checks.
NDHB Rural, Family and Community general manager Jeanette Wedding said community testing would remain for surveillance purposes.
"This will help early identification of any unknown community transmission," she said.
"Community surveillance testing is voluntary and you do not have to be tested if you don't want to be."
People with a high index of suspicion of Covid-19 who were tested - recent (in 14 days) overseas travel, recent exposure to a confirmed case, recent exposure to someone who had recent overseas travel - were required to stay isolated until their test results were available.
Isolation was not necessary for people waiting for their test results who didn't meet this criteria.
Wedding said the CBTCs and mobile stations were vital in identifying new cases, managing potential clusters and tracking the efforts of the medical community.
The Ministry of Health provided $1,544,852 in operational funding to the NDHB in March for community-based testing facilities. The majority, $1,241,399, was used to establish the CBTCs while the remaining $303,453 was provided for GP-based Covid-19 assessments.
Since April 27 to July 5, 9880 tests were conducted in Northland. In the week of April 27 to May 3, 1045 tests were done, more than double the 416 tests done in the week of June 29 to July 5.
Spikes in testing were recorded across that 10-week period. From May 4-17, 3805 tests were conducted, which represented 39 per cent of all tests done during that period.
Wedding said this was due to the Ministry of Health relaxing testing guidelines to include symptomatic and asymptomatic testing of healthcare workers, essential workers and surveillance testing to inform decision-making regarding a move from alert level three to alert level two.
A similar spike was recorded for the week of June 22-28 when 1365 tests were done - only 60 tests less than all testing conducted in the three weeks prior.
Wedding said this rise was likely prompted by the news from the week prior which revealed two women had been released from an Auckland managed isolation facility and later tested positive for the virus.
Northland's last case of Covid-19 was reported on April 16.