Taranaki District Health Board (TDBH) has launched a new Covid-19 testing campaign to target visitors coming into the region and local residents planning to travel.
The message is clear; If you've been out of the region; in contact with someone who's been out of the region; you're a visitor to Taranaki who develops symptoms; or you've been in close contact with visitors to the region through work – get tested to be sure.
TDHB's Incident Management Team controller, Dr Greg Simmons, says the campaign is timely with the school holidays kicking in.
"We know there is going to be a lot of inter-regional movement in the next few weeks with families taking time off to holiday. We want visitors coming into our region to know where to get tested for Covid-19 particularly if they develop respiratory symptoms. We also want to encourage local families who travel to get tested for their own health reassurance".
The Get tested to be sure campaign aims to educate people about being tested for the following reasons:
If you have cold or flu-like symptoms
If you've been travelling in and out of regions recently
If you've been in close contact with someone whose been travelling in and out of regions
If you're a visitor to the region who develops symptoms
If you've been in close contact with visitors to the region through your work
If you're a close contact of a Covid-19 case you should get a test, be in self-isolation and not travel.
The Ministry of Health is also calling for increased surveillance testing of workers in the tourism and hospitality industry who are likely to have increased contact with visitors from other regions.
Dr Simmons says people working at our borders, like the airport and Port Taranaki, are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, as are people working in cafes, bars, restaurants, and local tourism operations.
"Anyone who has been in close contact with tourists or visitors through their work should get a test if they're concerned about their health, even if they don't have Covid-19 symptoms. Getting a test is one way of knowing for certain that you are not infected.
"We strongly advise people who are a close contact of a Covid-19 case to get tested, stay at home in isolation and definitely do not travel'.
Visitors to the region can check the Taranaki DHB Covid-19 webpage for testing clinics in New Plymouth, Hāwera, Waitara and Opunake - www.tdhb.org.nz/covid19/public.shtml#testing
Dr Simmons also reminds people that face coverings are still recommended on public transport.
"It is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport in Auckland, including flying to, through or from Auckland. A face covering is recommended everywhere else in New Zealand on public transport.
"We all need to work together to stop the spread of the virus. Keeping up our hygiene measures, physical distancing and wearing face coverings when necessary is just as important as getting tested when we have symptoms".
People who need further advice around Covid-19 symptoms and testing should contact their GP, Healthline or text one of the testing clinics.