The Covid-19 testing station in Botany Downs is set to be relocated after massive traffic congestion has caused long queues for testing as well as for people trying to get to work and school.
East Health Trust, which runs the Covid testing facility at Botany Road on behalf of the DHB, has agreed to move the current site to Lloyd Elsmore, according to CEO Loretta Hansen.
The decision comes as a new community Covid-19 case was announced today, a worker at a Botany Downs KFC restaurant. Anyone who was a customer at the restaurant on Monday evening, when the person was working, has been asked to isolate and get a test.
Lloyd Elsmore is a large Auckland sports park located off Pakuranga Road, but it has three access points — from Pakuranga and Cascades roads, and from Aviemore Drive.
Testing is set to continue at the Botany Road site, as well as at Lloyd Elsmore Park over the weekend, with the testing sites to consolidate at Lloyd Elsmore by Monday.
The Botany Road testing station will be open 8.00am-4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday but will close Sunday night.
The Lloyd Elsmore testing site will operate over the weekend from 10.00am-5.00pm on Saturday and 9.00am-5.00pm on Sunday and will continue until March 7, when it will be reviewed.
Testing is set to take place at the Park and Ride carpark section of the park over the weekend, the entry point being Pakuranga Road and on Monday it will move to the car park area by the hockey field.
Because Lloyd Elsmore is a council-owned site, it needed sign-off to be able to operate as a testing site, local MP Christopher Luxon told 1 NEWS.
“Every day this week I've been checking in with East Health Trust," he said.
“As you will all be aware, the Covid testing traffic is the worst it has ever been over the last year and has been very frustrating for everyone trying to get to work or drop the kids to school,” Luxon said.
Luxon has been pushing for the move since June, after the current site caused major traffic congestion and worried those who were needing quick access to the neighbouring Botany Downs Maternity Unit.
Luxon says there have been issues accessing major arterial routes, affected by backed-up traffic from mass testing following a worker at a nearby Kmart testing positive for the virus on Tuesday.
“The reason is very simple in that both the DHB Covid testing facility and East Care's Covid testing have been overrun with massive demand and record days due to the close proximity and case at the Botany Kmart store. This has meant over 1200 Botany people are now isolating,” Luxon said.
Hansen told 1 NEWS that the Lloyd Elsmore site is a temporary measure until 7 March, when Auckland Council and Howick Local Board will review the process.
“An opportunity for an extension is still there,” Hansen said.
"All the GPs in the area also swab so people can go to their GP," she added.
"The intention is that the Botany Downs testing facility is to close permanently. We are really hopeful that it will be permanent," she said.