Queenstown CBAC to scale back

Wānaka Medical Centre and Aspiring Medical Centre will continue to be available for coronavirus testing after CBAC closes its doors. Credit: Wānaka Medical Centre

Reduced community demand for coronavirus testing means the CBAC at Queenstown Memorial Centre closed its doors Monday May 11.

There’s been a steady decline in demand for swabbing in Queenstown-Lakes over the past two weeks - in the range of five to a single test per day. Designated practices in the area – including Queenstown Medical Centre and Wakatipu Medical Centre, as well as Wānaka Medical Centre and Aspiring Medical Centre in Wānaka -have the capacity to provide coronavirus testing to the local population, including international workers and visitors who may not be enrolled with a practice.

And while the CBAC is shutting its doors for now, it remains equipped to quickly scale up again if the need arises.

“This is an indication that our CBACs, as well as our surveillance and outreach swabbing programmes, have done the work they are meant to do: make swabbing accessible for as many people as possible, away from hospital,” said WellSouth medical director, Stephen Graham.

Since WellSouth’s Queenstown CBAC was set up on March 24, 1373 assessments have been carried out and 1363 swabs taken. A pop-up CBAC on 16 April tested 353 asymptomatic supermarket shoppers and a further 247 swabs were done at six Queenstown backpacker accommodations April 24 -27. All tests from the surveillance or outreach testing – aimed at identifying any undetected community transmission of the virus - have been negative.

“Dozens of WellSouth and general practice staff have stepped up to work the CBACs and do the community testing. They have been real heroes in all this and we are very grateful for their selflessness and for the work they’ve done,” Graham said.

WellSouth’s CBACs in Dunedin and Invercargill continue to operate as usual, 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm weekends.

Anyone seeking coronavirus assessment and testing in the Queenstown Lakes area can see their own general practice or a designated practice and coronavirus testing is free, regardless of where the testing takes place.

WellSouth’s 0800 VIRUS19 (0800 847 8719) call centre continues to operate, providing advice and referring patients to designated and general practices when testing is required.

Read edition 974 of the Wānaka Sun here.


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