Rotorua residents flocked to a Covid-19 testing centre today after it was revealed two positive Covid-19 cases travelled to the tourist town on the weekend.

READ MORE:
Covid 19 coronavirus lockdown: Jacinda Ardern says Auckland in level 3 at midday; NZ in level 2
Covid 19 coronavirus: Second wave: Two workplaces shut, workers showing covid symptoms
Covid 19 coronavirus: Auckland in lockdown, rest of country in level 2 - Four cases of community transmission
Covid 19 coronavirus: Lockdown likely to be longer than three days

At a press conference at the Beehive this morning, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the two people had visited tourist spots in Rotorua and the Ministry of Health was working to establish exactly where.

Bloomfield said people in Rotorua would need to be vigilant as if there was another case in Rotorua a nationwide response may be necessary.

Advertisement
Melita Foley was in line to be tested alongside her sons, Kahurangi, 10, and Rebel, 8, Johnson. Photo / Ben Fraser
Melita Foley was in line to be tested alongside her sons, Kahurangi, 10, and Rebel, 8, Johnson. Photo / Ben Fraser

A woman in her 20s and a child travelled out of Auckland last weekend to Rotorua and had subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

More than 100 people were at the Vaughan Rd testing station by midday, with testing available via drive-thru and walk-ins.

There has been a mad rush of Rotorua residents to the community based Covid assessment centre. Photo / Ben Fraser
There has been a mad rush of Rotorua residents to the community based Covid assessment centre. Photo / Ben Fraser

Most people were wearing masks and social-distancing and there was a mix of adults and children.

Marshalls were directing traffic and people. Some cars were deferred when the line was too full.

As one car tried to enter the line at the testing station a warden had to turn it away, saying to the driver "unfortunately that's just the nature of it right now".

Michelle Bloor, a doctor who worked with the elderly, was close to the end of the in-person line.

She'd been waiting for "about 20 minutes".

She was getting a test to be safe but she also had a sore throat.

Advertisement

Next to Bloor was Maggie Waters. Waters said she was not symptomatic but got hayfever.

She said she saw testing was free and thought she would "go in".

"I visit elderly people in retirement villages. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Rose Andrew, also in line for a Covid-19 test, volunteered on the weekend at Mokoia Island.

"There was a church group there and some of them were from South Auckland. I thought I might just come get tested to be safe."

Michelle Bloor, (left), and Maggie Waters wait in line to be tested. Photo / Ben Fraser
Michelle Bloor, (left), and Maggie Waters wait in line to be tested. Photo / Ben Fraser

Her mother and son were also in line as they had had dinner together recently.

Advertisement

Melita Foley was in line to be tested alongside her sons, Kahurangi and Rebel Johnson, who were aged 10 and 8 respectively.

She said the two boys were staying with their father in Auckland the last week, who called Foley late last night to tell her about the change in alert levels.

"I said 'what?' I didn't want [the boys] getting stuck in Auckland. I said bring them straight home. It's probably safer in Rotorua."

The boys' father had left for Rotorua first thing in the morning, and Foley left work at Mitre 10 early to take them straight to the testing station.

"It will protect the school and my work if we just get tested."

There has been a mad rush of Rotorua residents to the community based Covid assessment centre. Photo / Ben Fraser
There has been a mad rush of Rotorua residents to the community based Covid assessment centre. Photo / Ben Fraser

A Rotorua woman displaying Covid-like symptoms told the Rotorua Daily Post she was eager to get tested at the Vaughan Rd centre but was turned away twice this morning.

Advertisement

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she drove from Ngongotahā to Vaughan Rd about 9.20am but was told she would have to come back in an hour because the centre was full.

"I came back in an hour but got turned away again," she said.

"You can only come in from the one direction and there is nowhere to park up and wait. They just kept saying it was too full. That's a long way for me to drive back every hour and check.

"I was in Auckland at the weekend and I have a sore throat, it feels like a cold coming on. I just want to get tested and have that reassurance."

The Lakes District Health Board released a statement saying pop-up testing centres would be arranged in the coming days.

"The testing centres at Rotorua and Taupō have been busy all morning, with lines of cars with people waiting to be tested," the statement said.

Advertisement

"The hours of operation for the testing centres have just been extended, and both centres will now run from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-noon Saturday and Sunday.

Lakes DHB is also arranging for pop-up centres in Rotorua for the next three days, and these venues and operating times will be advertised as soon as they are confirmed.

Currently the Rotorua centre is at 2 Vaughan Rd and the Taupō centre is at 79 Miro St.

"Hospital services at Rotorua and Taupō Hospitals are operating as normal. If you have an appointment at Rotorua or Taupō Hospital, please make sure you attend it and if you can't come, please call to advise us.

"When you come to hospital, please use the register at the front door to sign in or use the covid tracer app to do it electronically."

Anyone with Covid-19 syptoms is encouraged to get tested. Photo / File
Anyone with Covid-19 syptoms is encouraged to get tested. Photo / File

Who should get a test?

Advertisement

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, you should be tested and can drop into one of the swabbing clinics.

The symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to common illnesses such as a cold or influenza and maybe one or more of the following: cough, a high temperature, shortness of breath, sore throat, sneezing and runny nose, temporary loss of smell.