An extra-kind approach amid the “prevailing heightened anxiety” is essential for the Waikato South Pacific Islands Community Services Covid-19 testing and vaccination team, chief executive Akarere Henry said.
The move to Phase 3 changed everything overnight for a Tokoroa Covid testing center, and a week of high demand for testing ‘burnt out’ its allocated supplies of rapid antigen tests.
Staff members used a “kill them with kindness” approach despite some minor abuse from people who had lined up to be tested and missed, and spotted some people trying to hoard the tests for future use.
Since Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) was introduced on Wednesday last week, South Pacific Islands Community Services Waikato (SWPICS) has struggled to keep up with demand and had to close the center early one day while the Stocks were being replenished, chief executive Akarere Henry said.
“We completely used up our allocated supplies, but on Friday we got a little more savvy so we had a continuous supply.”
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Chris Hipkins confirms that New Zealand will move into Covid-19 “phase 3” at 11:59 p.m. on February 24.
Henry said staff have also found ways to identify people who try to take RATs home for future use, thereby denying their use to those who really need them.
“There are elements in any community where people might see themselves as more helpful, but we are not naive and fortunately only a small minority have that expectation.
“The more we are able to ensure that people who are eligible for RATs have access to them, the greater the coverage in our community.”
Henry said SWPICS runs a drive-through vaccination center on Leith Pl in Tokoroa as well as pop-up centers in Putāruru, and operates a Covid-19 testing center at its headquarters on Maraetai Lane in Tokoroa.
Its services are supported by the Raukawa Charitable Trust and the South Waikato District Health Board.
“There was very high demand last week, and literally everything changed for us overnight when the Prime Minister announced the move to phase 3 and changed the eligibility of those who could access these tests.
“But we’re back on track this week, and it’s actually easier for us to identify people who need a test – they have to be symptomatic and be a household contact of a positive case.”
She said the key to keeping everyone safe was to “kill them with kindness.”
“We are maintaining a high level of kindness, and we are so aware of the heightened anxiety that is going on right now.”
Henry said their approach to testing and vaccinations was based on what the community wanted, so drive-through testing and vaccination had been popular with locals and operated at times when it could be more accessible, such as after hours. work and weekends.
She had one last message for the locals.
“We care about our community. We just want to serve. Be considerate of others and kind to our team, they are just following directions.