Security staff at an Auckland testing centre are copping abuse over confusion about whether walk-ins can get tested today.
Staff say they have been turning away people who are parking close to the Wairau Valley testing site and then presenting as walk-ins.
Meanwhile, people have been turned away from the Albany testing centre because it already reached capacity around midday today.
Five Auckland vaccination centres are closed today because staff have been redirected to help out at overrun Covid-19 testing sites.
People at other sites are being advised to prepare to be waiting for some time and remain calm.
Thirteen community testing centres are available across Auckland today, including three new pop-up centres set up yesterday at Pakuranga, St Johns and Māngere East.
All centres in Auckland are continuing to operate with extended hours and many will remain open until 8pm today.
Pop-up testing sites remain open in Coromandel township, Thames and Hamilton.
Around 2600 swabs have been taken onsite from Auckland City Hospital staff and all have been negative so far, following a fully vaccinated staff member working onsite while unknowingly being potentially infectious.
A steady queue at Wellington Central's testing centre on Taranaki St is growing after three cases were confirmed in the capital.
A site dedicated to testing staff, pupils and anyone connected to the Avondale College cluster has opened at the Avondale Racecourse today.
Closed vaccination centres
Vaccination centres at Birkenhead, Epsom, Highbrook, Pukekohe and Takanini have closed as staff are "urgently diverted to support the surge in testing today after the announcement of further cases and related locations of interest", the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre said today.
Eight are still operating. The centres that are open are Manurewa, Ōtara, Henderson, Westgate, Mt Wellington, Auckland CBD, Albany and Tāmaki (Glen Innes).
People will be sent a text and email on whether their appointment will need to be rescheduled.
Danielle Windfuhr turned up at the ASB Showgrounds vaccination centre this morning only to find it closed, and security staff had no idea why.
It was only when she called Healthline that she learned it would be closed today and she had to reschedule for another couple of weeks from now.
"It's really annoying that no one knew why or what was happening," she told the Herald.
Security staff at the Wairau Valley testing centre are copping abuse from some people over confusion around whether walk-ins can get a test.
Earlier this morning, the Herald reported that walk-ins were no longer being tested so nurses could focus on clearing the queue of cars - which appeared to be at its longest this week due to Northcote College being deemed a location of interest.
The Northern Region Health Coordination Centre, which heads Auckland's testing efforts, has repeatedly refuted this, saying walk-ins can be tested.
However, staff at the centre say they've found people are parking close to testing sites and then presenting as walk-ins - which was delaying progress.
In an effort to clamp down on such behaviour, centre staff have been turning away most walk-ins - unless they are genuine walk-ins who haven't driven from elsewhere.
As a result, some security staff are copping flack from some people who are angry at being turned away when Auckland's public health website says walk-ins will be accepted.
A nurse on-site confirmed they would test walk-ins - but only if they had genuinely walked to the centre, as opposed to parking close by and walking in.
One woman told the Herald the excess demand at the site had led to people jumping the queue as there was no traffic management in place.
In Wellington Central, queues are steadily growing at the Taranaki St Covid testing station as it was confirmed three cases had tested positive in the wider region.
People wearing masks are waiting in the rain, while others line up in cars.
An additional testing facility has already been set up at Hataitai Park and a vaccination centre will open at the Michael Fowler Centre tomorrow, Mayor Andy Foster told the Herald.
Hundreds of cars have snaked their way around the North Harbour Stadium carpark and Oteha Valley Rd at the Albany testing centre.
Staff have told the Herald the site is being cut off, otherwise they won't have time to get through everyone; limited testing kits are possibly the reason.
Leon and Kristine Isla were among the people turned away.
The pair had been waiting for about four hours this morning, after waiting two hours at the same site yesterday before being turned away.
Kristine is also 35 weeks pregnant with the pair's third child - a girl.
The pair were at the Westfield mall last week, buying things for their 3-year-old's birthday. The mall had since been deemed a location of interest.
Rhonda Andersen was one of many people turned around, despite queuing for more than four hours.
Andersen claims she was told by a centre staff member there were only 400 testing kits left as she was being informed she would have to leave.
While she completely understood staff were just following orders, she was frustrated to have wasted her morning.
"I just think a blind man could have organised it better," she said.
Leo Chen, who worked in the area, had been waiting about five hours and was expecting several more hours of queuing at the in-demand centre.
"I'm just scared someone here has Covid," he told the Herald.
Naomi and Richard, along with their two kids, have been queuing at the Albany centre for almost four hours now after they were linked to a location of interest.
A dedicated Covid testing station is now open for pupils, their families and staff of Avondale College at the Avondale Racecourse.
It follows a staff member having a confirmed case of Covid-19 and another family connected to the school also being infected with the virus.
All staff and students at the school have been ordered to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days and get tested.
The school said all close contacts would also need to have further tests on August 23 and August 29.
People in west Auckland who visited locations of interest have been lining up at the Henderson testing centre since the early hours of this morning.
Henderson resident Ti Schwk rolled out of bed at 4am to arrive at the Edsel St testing centre at 4.20am and was second in line before the centre opened.
The Corrections staff member said she visited the site yesterday but did not bother queuing because the line was too long.
Chantal Fareti and her partner arrived at 4.30am, along with their three children - aged 2, 9 and 10.
Fareti's sister worked at Avondale College so she wanted to get tested, just to be safe.
Asked whether it was difficult to wake the whānau this morning, Fareti said the kids' interests were piqued by the early start.
The queue at the Northcote testing station is almost 300 cars long, winding its way around College Rd, Exmouth Rd, Lake Rd and Akoranga Dr, a similar situation to yesterday.
Joshua van Wyk and Megan Flatt arrived at the Northcote testing centre at 7.10am to find about 200 cars in front of them in the queue.
Both essential workers, the pair spent seven hours at the Albany testing centre yesterday but were unable to get tested.
Van Wyk had been calling multiple medical centres in the area but hadn't been able to book test appointments as they were not registered with those centres.
The pair were both considered close contacts after being at the Glenfield mall - a location of interest.
Flatt said morale was "very low", and van Wyk said it was disheartening close contacts were not able to get a test quicker.
Many people the Herald has spoken to at testing centres have not been close contacts but wanted a test to know they didn't have the virus.
Other testing centres
Staff at North Shore Hospital are lining up outside one of the hospital buildings for a Covid-19 test after a patient tested positive for the virus overnight.
Around 2600 swabs have been taken onsite from Auckland City Hospital staff and all have been negative so far.
The Narrow Neck testing station is hugely congested, with cars lined up along Seabreeze Rd to Lake Rd.
It was a slow uptake this morning at a new testing centre at the Netball Centre in St Johns, but a queue is now snaking around the carpark.
Auckland health authorities are urging anyone wanting to get a test to call your GP, a designated practice or urgent care clinic to see if they have availability.
Here are the current locations for testing centres and pop-up centres across Auckland.
Testing centres in Auckland had their busiest day ever yesterday, by more than 50 per cent.
Around 24,000 swabs were taken across Auckland; around 8000 at community testing centres and around 16,000 at general practice and urgent care clinics.
Yesterday, 27,899 tests were processed across New Zealand.
Yesterday, Waikato DHB's laboratory processed nearly 2600 tests and all returned a negative result.
Follow these tips before going to get a test
• If you were not at a location of interest at the stated times and you have no symptoms you do not need to be tested.
• If you were at the locations of interest at the times stated, you need to get a test.
• If you have symptoms get a test.
• If you do have to wait for a test, our frontliners ask for your patience and empathy, please be kind.
• For up-to-date information on testing locations in Auckland, visit www.arphs.health.nz/covid19test. For up-to-date info on all testing locations, visit www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/