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The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s first community-based assessment centre for COVID-19 has opened.

The Hastings-based centre opened yesterday, with further planned around the region, including in CHB.

The DHB says these centres are not drop-in centres, and anyone that turns up without an appointment will be turned away.

Medical officer of Health Dr Nick Jones said the centres are a part of district health boards’ pandemic plans nationwide.

He said the centres have been established as a matter of urgency to manage the high demand for testing of people in self isolation who have developed symptoms of COVID-19, with the aim to take some of the load off general practices, that are already very busy.

Anyone wanting to use the community-based assessment centre must do so after contacting Healthline or their GP, who will then contact the centre.

A team-member from the centre will then call the patient to make a time.


Meanwhile the MidCentral District Health Board has set up a coronavirus testing station in Tararua.

The DHB also has a mobile unit available to get to hard-to-reach groups.

Community-based assessment centres are also due to open from next week.

Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said thorough planning for a potential outbreak was important and she assured the community the board was doing everything possible to prepare for the rapidly evolving situation.


Central Hawke's Bay Mayor, Alex Walker, wants to assure local farmers that the current drought affecting them hasn't been forgotten amongst the world's preoccuption with Coronavirus.

Ms Walker told Central FM yesterday she has been busy attending meetings on the issue, and talking with various parties.

She says there is a regional response being lead out by a Rural Advisory Group alongside MPI.

She is encouraging farmers who need help with water, feed, finances, budgeting or health; or those who would just like to chat, to contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP.