Long queues formed at Whanganui Hospital's Covid-19 testing site on Monday, as residents rushed to get tested after the announcement that Covid-19 is back in the community in Auckland.
The community based assessment centre (CBAC), located within the main carpark of Whanganui Hospital, is a drive-in facility, with patients receiving a test within an on-site tent.
By 11am on Monday, around 20 cars were waiting in line, with nurses in PPE administering a test around once every three minutes.
In a statement, a Whanganui District Health Board spokesperson said that around 80 swabs were taken at the testing centre on Monday morning.
"The hospital CBAC has been very busy this morning with around 80 swabs done between 8am and 1pm. We have heard that the Marton GP practice has also been busy," the spokesperson said.
"There are no new testing stations at this stage but we are monitoring the situation continuously and will look at whether more testing stations, pop-up stations and/or extended hours are needed."
Meanwhile, staff around the hospital are on alert after Sunday night's shift to alert level 2.
Chief executive Russell Simpson said in a statement that the DHB had pandemic plans in case of an alert level shift, and reassured the community that health staff were ready to mobilise in the changing circumstances.
"I know a change in alert levels can be unsettling for many of our community members. We have been in this position before and are well prepared should we need to enact plans to respond to a change in alert levels.
"It is important that people remain vigilant, follow good hygiene and safety rules, and seek medical attention if needed."
Simpson said the hospital was currently operating as normal, with staff on duty at various entrances to ensure people entering the hospital are signing in.
Staff will also provide face masks to anyone presenting at the hospital with respiratory symptoms.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Whanganui District has had nine cases of Covid-19, with the most recent recorded in April 2020.
Key messages from the Whanganui District Health Board:
• If you're sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school. Do not socialise.
• If you have cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about being tested. Or visit the CBAC on the Whanganui campus.
• If you have been told to self-isolate you legally must do so immediately.