Taranaki DHB ready for testing transition in Phase 3

25 February 2022

Taranaki DHB is ready to implement its new testing plan following the Government’s announcement to move to Phase 3 in the Omicron response.

Taranaki DHB’s COVID-19 Response Manager, Gillian Campbell, says as COVID-19 cases continue to grow in our community and across New Zealand, Taranaki must adapt our testing regime to respond to a rapidly evolving situation.

“Our testing regime will see much wider use of rapid antigen tests (RATs) and PCR tests will only be for household contacts with symptoms.

“We are ready for RATs testing in Taranaki with distribution planned around the region. RATs will be available at the North and South Taranaki community testing centres, General Practices and designated pharmacies. Each of these sites will have a supply of RATs to transition our region to the new model of testing.

“Under Omicron Phase 3 the purpose of testing shifts away from trying to find every case to making sure our PCR testing capacity is supporting those that need it most - those who are unwell and more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19.

We acknowledge this is a huge change to the testing approach we’ve taken since the pandemic started, but want to reassure the community we will work with them to help people understand the different processes, how to self-care and how best to access testing. We just ask everyone for a bit of patience as we move to these new Phase 3 protocols.

“The other benefit of RATs is it will help take the pressure off and lessen wait times at testing sites.”

The testing transition in Phase 3 outlines who requires a test and what type.

PCR test:

  • For people who are symptomatic and a household contact

RATs test:

  • For people who are asymptomatic (do not have any COVID-19 symptoms) but are a household contact (will now be given three RATs to do their own testing).
  • People who are symptomatic but not a household contact

Who does not need a test:

  • People who are asymptomatic and not a household contact

Mrs Campbell says a list of designated sites for RATs collection are available on the Healthpoint website and new sites will be added over the next few days as the new testing regime is rolled out.

“In the meantime, the community testing centres are still open and available seven days a week to test people who are symptomatic only.”

RATs are also available to critical workers at critical businesses through the Close Contact Exemption Scheme. More information is available at Rapid antigen testing | Ministry of Health NZ.

Mrs Campbell confirms there are now positive COVID-19 cases in most areas of the Taranaki community around the maunga.

“At this stage we are reporting case numbers in the region by the areas North, Central and South. We know there is a growing demand from the public to better understand exactly where in these areas positive cases are, but as case numbers grow it is best to assume most communities will be impacted.

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious just remember the basic principles we’ve always lived by – these include our healthcare prevention measures: stay home if you’re sick, get vaccinated – especially your booster, wash your hands, wear your mask, scan in and maintain social distancing where possible. These are the most basic yet important day-to-day measures we can all take to keep ourselves and our whānau as safe as possible as cases increase.

“Supporting one another will also be key and we’ve been asking people to prepare for the last few weeks by putting plans in place. The care that has always been available for people isolating will continue to be there and our hospital’s will remain open.  

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