Seven new community testing centres are being set up around Auckland after a frantic first day of level 3 lockdown in the city.
Vehicles stretched for miles yesterday and tempers got heated as people rushed to get tested, only left to wait for hours at various Covid-19 testing stations in Auckland and around the rest of the country.
Traffic was so bad along New North Rd one resident said it stretched about 2km all the way to Morningside.
Hamilton's testing centre at Claudelands Event Centre had to be shut down after being overwhelmed with people wanting to be tested. About 500 had turned up prior to 10am. One man was even arrested.
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While Claudelands will reopen and others be set up around the Waikato today, seven new testing centres are being set up around Auckland including one on Waiheke Island.
It would see three new sites set up in the north, one at St Lukes, one in Botany and another at Takanini.
Northern Region Health Coordination Centre lead Margie Apa said as at 1pm yesterday, more than 1600 people had been swabbed at the four community testing centres and two pop-ups in Otara and New Lynn.
"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 three-fold and can now analyse 7000-8000 swabs each day."
Apa knew the waits had been long and she thanked people for their patience but assured staff would get to everyone as soon as they could.
"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."
Apa said people with symptoms could also get a free test at their local doctor or Urgent Care Clinic.
Chief executive Dr Kevin Snee said the health system had experience responding to Covid-19 and was well prepared.
"This is likely to be a dynamic situation and we ask that the community take all precautions and understand the situation may change over the next few days and this may have an impact on hospital services and access for visitors."
The Claudelands testing centre would be expanding its capacity and increasing hours while the DHB would set up mobile services to boost rural access to testing.
Anyone who has cold-like symptoms should contact their GP or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for guidance.
AUCKLAND'S NEW COVID-19 TESTING CENTRES
• Coast to Coast Wellsford Medical Centre
• Coast to Coast Warkworth
• Eventfinda Stadium/North Shore Events Centre
• White Cross St Lukes Accident & Urgent Medical
• Botany Road Community Testing Centre
• Takanini Urgent Care
• Waiheke Medical Centre