Covid 19 coronavirus: Wellington man whose father died is frustrated over testing process

A man whose father died from Covid-19 has expressed his frustration at the current testing system in place for Wellington.

Robert James’ father died in the Intensive Care Unit at Wellington Hospital in April last year, after contracting the virus while travelling overseas.

The 60-year-old wanted to get tested himself yesterday after realising two of his flatmates had been at a location of interest at the same time as the Australian tourist who visited last weekend.

James said his flatmates were at The Rydges on Featherston St – the same hotel the Covid-19 positive man from Sydney stayed.

He tried calling Healthline first and was told there was a one-hour wait and that he was around 160th in the queue.

James then called his medical centre, before heading to the Lower Hutt testing centre near Hutt hospital with his flatmates.

“We pulled in, nobody else was around – I mean no other cars were waiting or anything – guy came up to us and said we’re going to make an appointment for you. We thought oh yip, that’s okay, they might be busy.

“So he made an appointment for four hours later, 2.30 yesterday afternoon.”

James said the man then spent 15-20 minutes taking the details of all four people in the car.

He said while this was happening the centre remained empty.

“Nobody called in, nobody was being tested, the staff were all sort of just standing around and we all questioned why couldn’t you just test us now instead of making us come back four hours later?”

He said there was no answer to that question – just we only do it by appointments.

James said if you check the website, it said they do drive ins and appointments which was one of the reasons they went down there.

He said the experience was just annoying.

“We knew we were meant to be isolating and yet we are being forced to go out again, when we shouldn’t be, we should be staying at home not going anywhere, not seeing anyone.”

He said it was annoying for those four hours not knowing if they were or weren’t going to get tested or if they were allowed to go to the supermarket or not.

After being tested they didn’t receive any advice of what they should do next James said.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said more testing sites would be opened today, and more people are being rostered on to answer Healthline phones.

Capital and Coast DHB said the Taranaki Street testing site is fully booked today, but other CBACS across the region have capacity, as well primary care like GPs.

It was strongly encouraging people to book appointments and to not present without an appointment.

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