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Southern Medical Officer Of Health Urges The Public To Get Tested If They Are Sick, Get Vaccinated And Follow Rules

COVID-19 is in the South Island and Southern DHB’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Michael Butchard is urging southerners to get tested if they have any symptoms.

It is not if, but when we get a case in the Southern district and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of staying home and getting tested if people have any COVID-19 symptoms, however mild. They should either call 0800 VIRUS-19 (0800 847 8719) or their GP to arrange a COVID-19 test. Testing is quick and it’s free,” says Dr Butchard.

“With the case in Blenheim and the two cases in Christchurch there is no time for complacency - if people don’t get tested we won’t know that COVID-19 has made it to the district. The sooner we pick up the first case the sooner we can get on top of it. We don’t want a situation where a positive person has been in the community potentially spreading the disease.”

Dr Butchard also emphasises the importance of getting vaccinated. “If you haven’t had your vaccination please go and get it today.”

Vaccinations are free and available to anyone in New Zealand aged 12 and over. It’s easy to book and there are lots of places to get vaccinated including many drop in clinics. Bookings can also be made online: or by calling 0800 28 29 26.

“So far 88.3% of eligible Southern residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, and 74.5% are fully vaccinated. Southerners have done a fantastic job in getting vaccinated but we need everyone who is eligible who hasn’t already had the vaccination to do their bit. If you know whanau or friends who are hesitant, reach out to them today and have a friendly chat about why you got vaccinated.”

Getting vaccinated means you are far less likely to get really sick and have to go to hospital if you catch COVID-19. You are also less likely to pass COVID-19 on to other people. Studies show that 95% of people who have received two doses of the vaccine are protected against getting COVID-19 symptoms. If you are not vaccinated, you are eleven times more likely to die from COVID-19, and ten times more likely to be admitted to hospital.

The public are also reminded of the importance of following the Alert Level 2 rules. “The Delta strain is highly infectious, and can spread by airborne transmission. So please wear a mask when you leave the house, remember to scan everywhere you go, and don’t forget the importance of good hand hygiene. All these measures will protect yourselves and others,” says Dr Butchard.

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