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COVID-19 testing

Updated 19/08/2020

In Level 2 we are trying to recognize any case community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID), so large scale testing is needed.  Please refer to national guidance, whether we would like samples for well people or just those with illness that could be COVID-19.  This can change from day to day.

We are also testing selected contacts of known cases, staff and healthcare workers, even if they are not unwell.

Testing is done 7 days a week.  Expected  turnaround time is still <48 hours but occasionally transport to the lab, specially from rural and small town sites can take a while, so please be patient.

Most hospital clinical pathways have been arranged so that a pending COVID test should not delay investigations or admissions.

Selected cases may be tested urgently between the hours 08:00 and 22:00 by phoned request but our capacity is limited to 2 or 3 cases each day.   It is usually best to walk the specimen to the lab for urgent testing like this.  Turnaround time for rapid testing is <2 hours.

ICU, HDU and Haem/Oncology:  please phone 98606 to request.  All other locations: please phone the Clinical Microbiologist on duty 027 2905255 to request

Due to large numbers of samples at present (up to 2000 on some days), we can’t relocate swabs which have gone into the COVID stream, for additional testing such as for Influenza and RSV.  These need to be requested at the time the swab is first collected, or else send a repeat swab and hand deliver it to the lab.


Dr Chris Mansell

Clinical Microbiologist



Latest laboratory specimen collection information can be found here

Waikato Respiratory Virus Report - Week 18

5 May 2020

We have been testing a steady number of patients but found no cases of Influenza, Rhinovirus, RSV or other respiratory viruses over the past month.

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Waikato Respiratory Virius Report 2020 - Week 16

22 April 2020

SARS-CoV-2 is currently uncommon in the Waikato region.

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Waikato Respiratory Virus Report - Week 13

31 March 2020

SARS-CoV-2 detection in the Waikato is still dominated by travel related outbreaks.

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Waikato Respiratory Virus Report 2020 - Week 11

20 March 2020

There are still very few of the traditional winter viruses circulating. This report shows sample and result numbers for the first week of large scale testing for SARS-CoV-2 (cause of COVID-19).

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Waikato Respiratory Virus Report 2020 - Week 10

12 March 2020

Respiratory viral illness is at low levels. A small number of patients with suspected COVID 19 in the Waikato have been tested, but all have been negative so far.

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Latest News

Waikato Respiratory Virus Report 2020 Week 37

16 September 2020

Specimen numbers for routine testing continue to fall, suggesting that seasonal respiratory viral illness is heading towards low, summer levels.

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Waikato Respiratory Virus Report 2020 Week 36

9 September 2020

Testing has quietened down after the recent COVID-19 cases in Tokoroa and we still have no Influenza or RSV.

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Waikato Respiratory Report - Week 34

25 August 2020

SARS-CoV-2 testing has been very active in the Waikato over the past 2 weeks, after a new cluster was found in Auckland and some cases had already travelled to the Waikato.

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