The final day for the Orchard Road COVID-19 Testing Centre will be tomorrow, Friday December 16.
Becky Hickmott, Senior Responsible Officer for System Pressures, says that after 27 months serving the population of Christchurch, the centre is closing as local pharmacies and healthcare providers are now able to manage the demand for testing and access to RAT kits in Canterbury.
“Testing continues to be a key tool to help New Zealand identify, isolate and recover from COVID-19 as we all learn to live with it,” says Becky Hickmott.
“We’ve certainly had our moments with high public demand for tests from this site, including queues being so long they blocked part of State Highway 1 on one particularly unforgettable day. Orchard Road has recently seen numbers drop as low as 5 PCR tests and 15 people requesting RATs in a single day.”
“COVID-19 tests are free and widely available. You can get free Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) from a number of local pharmacies in Canterbury and some people can also get them from kura or their workplaces.”
COVID-19 anti-viral medication is available for people who test positive or have symptoms and are a household contact, are over 65 years or MÄori and Pacific aged over 50 years or considered one of a high-risk group. Talk to your health care provider to see if you are eligible.
“I would like to emphasise that the most important thing that Cantabrians can do is get vaccinated, including boosters if eligible. Please keep sharing this message with your friends and whanau.”
“We’ve all learnt some great healthy habits over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as vaccination, wearing masks, physical distancing and increasing ventilation when indoors. These measures will help protect us from COVID-19 and other viruses circulating in the community.”
Now that summer’s here, it’s important to be prepared and understand how COVID- 19 might affect your holiday.
“If you’re going to be away from home, consider taking a kit that contains Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), hand sanitiser, masks or face coverings, and your usual medications,” says Becky Hickmott.
“It’s also really important to have a plan in place if you or any members of your family become infected with COVID-19, including how to get home safely to isolate.”
Save the number for Healthline into your phone: 0800 611 116 – for free health advice 24/7 including public holidays like Christmas Day. You can call Healthline from anywhere in the country, and they’ll provide local advice on where to go and what to do if you need to be seen or to access a COVID-19 test.
Get ready now and make sure you have enough RATs to test everyone in your whÄnau over the holidays if you need to. These can be ordered
here and picked up from a collection site. Whether your test is positive or negative, you should report the results of your RAT. Find out how to report your test results here:
– Visit the
Heathpoint website to find a RAT collection point near you.
– If you cannot leave home or there is no RAT collection site within twenty minutes of your home, you can call 0800 222 478 and a local provider will work with you to find a suitable access or delivery option.
– PCR tests are still available from your local healthcare provider if you meet the guidelines set out in the Ministry of Health’s testing strategy.
– If you are not enrolled at a general practice, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you think you need a PCR test.
– Walk-in testing is not available at any general practices, you must phone ahead to make an appointment.
Get up to date with your vaccinations, including any boosters before you head off on holiday.
Access to COVID-19 vaccinations will still be available at some locations over the Christmas break. Visit
https://vaccinatecanterburywestcoast.nz/ for details on where you can get vaccinated over the holiday period.