Auckland health authorities are ramping up Covid-19 testing facilities after worried residents were forced to wait up to seven hours for a swab on Wednesday.
Testing centres in the Super City were inundated as level 3 restrictions hit, with the huge waits labelled a "debacle" by Manurewa-Papakura Ward councillor Daniel Newman.
"The debacle that occurred today in Druces Rd with miles-long queues in Wiri cannot be repeated again," he said.
"We need many more community testing locations and my South Auckland constituents need to have ready access to the test."
Aucklander Katie Wahlmann was advised by Healthline that she and her two children - a teenager and a baby - needed to be tested for Covid-19.
The trio waited more than seven hours to be tested at the Northcote site on Wednesday.
"I had to ask the police early on if they could help me with my car - they drove my car forward, while we sat in our in masks in the back and I was breastfeeding."
She felt the extensive wait time was not the fault of the staff, but that the system wasn't ready for the influx of people.
"They were not prepared," she said.
"We turned up at 8.15am and there was one security guard and two nurses there. We've just left, and there's only three nurses working.
"They haven't even had lunch breaks, I asked."
While the family stuck out the day in the car, with just some muesli bars and bottles of water, Wahlmann said she saw cars turning back and untested people leaving their cars to use the toilet or visit a supermarket as they waited.
"No one would've packed food and you would need to go to the bathroom, but it was really concerning. On the off-chance that they do have Covid-19, they could be spreading it to people in those stores."
Capacity at Auckland's four community testing centres has now been boosted in the wake of the four cases of community transmission in South Auckland, with seven more pop-up community testing centres opened across the city this afternoon.
That means Aucklanderscan now be tested at 13 different centres - with four community testing centres and nine pop-up centres across Tāmaki Makaurau. People can also go to urgent care centres to be tested.
But the new sites couldn't come soon enough for Newman, who said the "traffic chaos" at Auckland's testing stations today was "atrocious".
"This cannot be allowed to continue," he said.
"Testing needs to increase and Aucklanders who want a test, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, need to have ready access.
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The Project NZ host Kanoa Lloyd clocked up five-and-a-half hours waiting in line today for a test.
Posting on social media, she said she had abandoned her car to use a "friendly stranger's toilet" in a moment of desperation - and returned to find that the line hadn't even moved.
Northern Region Health Co-ordination Centre boss Margie Apa said work was under way to stand up additional pop-ups tomorrow morning.
She asked residents to be vigilant, follow public health advice and not panic.
"The health sector in Auckland has prepared to be able to surge our testing capacity to respond to community transmission. As well as increasing pop-ups and mobile testing units, our labs have surged their capacity and can now analyse 7000-8000 swabs each day."
People could also be tested for free at general practices and urgent care clinics, which had also seen increased demand.
"I know the waits at some of our testing centres have been very long today and I also want to thank those queuing for their patience. Our teams will get to you as soon as they can, and the whole health sector is working hard to increase testing capacity.
"If you have symptoms and are heading to a CTC, do plan for long waiting times – but please still go. It is critically important we test as many people with symptoms as possible."
The best defence against Covid-19 was to maintain good hand hygiene, Apa said.
"If you are sick, stay home. Keep track of your movements to help us with contact tracing. Maintain physical distancing.
"If you have any symptoms, please get a free test at your local doctor, urgent care clinic, or at one of our community testing centres."
Anyone who was unsure should call their local doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116.
Community testing centre locations:
• Northcote Community Testing Centre
• Eden Terrace Community Testing Centre
• Whanau House, Waipareira Trust, Henderson
• Whānau Ora Medical Clinic, Wiri
Community testing centre pop-up locations:
• Coast to Coast Wellsford Medical Centre
• Coast to Coast Warkworth
• Eventfinda Stadium/North Shore Events Centre
• White Cross St Lukes Accident and Medical
• Health New Lynn
• Botany Road Community Testing Centre
• Takanini Urgent Care
• Ōtara Community Testing Centre
• Waiheke Medical Centre
Urgent care clinic locations:
• Shorecare Smales Farm
• Shorecare Northcross
• White Cross Henderson
• White Cross New Lynn
• East Tamaki Healthcare (ETHC) - Glen Innes
• White Cross Urgent Care & GP - Ascot 24/7
• White Cross Urgent Care & GP - Lunn Ave
• White Cross Accident & Urgent Medical - Ōtāhuhu
• Mt Roskill Medical & Surgical Centre
• White Cross Accident & Urgent Medical - St Lukes
• White Cross Accident & Urgent Medical - Ponsonby
• East Care, Golflands
• Local Doctors Dawson, Flat Bush
• East Tamaki Healthcare Māngere Town Centre
• Local Doctors Weymouth
• Local Doctors Ōtara
• Takanini Urgent Care
• Counties Urgent Care, Papakura
• Urgent Care Franklin