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Te Puna Ora o Mataatua (TPOOM) has remobilised its services to provide wrap around support to the entire Mataatua rohe.

The regional health, medical, social and employment provider has increased its capacity for free COVID-19 community testing in Whakatāne and Kawerau this week, on the back of the region entering a three day lockdown with the rest of New Zealand.

Plans and resources are also in place to resume these efforts for a further three to four weeks, if the lockdown period is extended.

Chief Executive Dr Chris Tooley says the key driver behind the response is regional and equity issues relating to health care accessibility in the Mataatua rohe.

“Our teams are going mobile again, as they have done in previous lockdowns last year.

“We’re also providing wrap around support to the region’s most vulnerable.”

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua’s current support includes access to hardship and travel assistance along with counselling services.

“For many a return to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 can be an unsettling and uncertain time, which can bring about a lot of mental and financial stress, but we are doing what we can to help offset this.”

Yesterday (Wednesday, August 18) TPOOM provided COVID-19 testing for up to 101 people, with a constant stream of about 10-12 cars lining the King Street site’s entrance way throughout the day.

Despite this, Dr Chris Tooley says staff had praise for whānau receiving their COVID-19 tests, and says many were grateful for the service.

“We thank you all for your patience and are proud of our kaimahi too for all of the work they are doing to keep our Mataatua whānau safe.”

Dr Tooley has also given assurance the COVID-19 vaccination rollout remains a priority.

“We are continuing to work with Ministry of Health and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board around mobile models for vaccination delivery.

“Vaccinations need to go out to the regions and we will make announcements shortly about how that will roll out.”

In the meantime people with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, or those who may have visited one of the MOH’s locations of interest are encouraged to get a COVID-19 test.

Community testing in Whakatāne will be based from outside Med Central’s Portacom from today through until Sunday, while Kawerau’s community testing will take place outside the Ron Hardie Recreation Centre from today until Saturday.

“If you have respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, a sore throat, or flu-like symptoms you can be assessed at any of our community testing sites.

“All assessment will be based from your car to ensure everyone can safely get support and advice without putting others at risk.”

People should ideally seek advice from Healthline 0800 358 5453 or their GP before attending the centre to check whether their symptoms meet the criteria for assessment and will need to arrive in a vehicle as no walk-ins will be accepted.

Latest information about COVID-19, including symptoms, testing locations and times, is available at www.tpoom.co.nz

For hardship assistance or any other support please phone 0800 MATAATUA.

Information on latest case numbers and locations of interest is available on the Ministry of Health website.


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