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Reassurance For Port Of Tauranga Workers From Ministry Of Health And BOPDHB

Reassurances are being given to people who work at Port of Tauranga, that following an Order from the Ministry of Health on Friday night, they will not be penalised if they are unable to get tested for COVID-19 before midnight (11.59pm) on Monday night.

Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield said “It's important that we take a flexible approach to our response to allow us to test as many of those as possible at our borders. Our border workers play an important role in doing their jobs and keeping us safe. Comprehensive testing will provide one further assurance of this and it is pragmatic to take a few more days to ensure we've tested as many of our port workers as possible."

Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s Interim CE Simon Everitt said that staff have been working over the weekend with port staff, to set up a testing station on-site at the port, to ensure sufficient capacity to test all required workers. Workers with symptoms of COVID-19 have been getting tested at their GP’s practice.

“We will be prioritising port staff who have been on-board a vessel in the last 14 days and/or those who have been in direct contact with crew. Testing will begin next week.

“Port of Tauranga staff will be contacted by their company to allocate them a testing slot. If a staff member is unwell or has symptoms, please seek treatment from their GP and remain off work. In the meantime we acknowledge the uncertainty that workers have being feeling about how to organise their tests. We ask that people be patient as they will be able to get tested over the next week, and that people wait for further instructions from their employers, and allow general practices to focus on testing those people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and require testing.

EOC Incident Controller, Dr Joe Bourne said “ While port staff are awaiting their test results, they can continue to work.

“Across the Bay of Plenty, general practice and Pathlab have continued to assess and test people with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Whilst those services have been busy, the numbers have been manageable and there is capacity for anyone who does present with symptoms.”

The COVID-19 symptoms include: a cough; a high temperature (at least 38C); shortness of breath; a sore throat; sneezing and runny nose; temporary loss of smell.

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