The latest Covid-19 stats show Covid is still prevalent nationwide, with 138 active cases in the Hawke’s Bay community, and people are being encouraged to make the most of the free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

Health Minister Shane Reti announced the availability of additional supplies of RATs last week to enable continued free testing for the public and health sector through to the end of June 2024.

Health New Zealand is purchasing a further five million RATs, with costs being met from existing budgets for Covid-19 services.

“New Zealand’s current inventory of RATs expires before the end of March and the ability to keep providing free stock would have come to an end,” Reti said.

He said the free RATs would be available through the established national network of distribution providers, comprising of health providers and some pharmacies. 

“Officials will provide me with further advice on COVID-19 testing and supply requirements from July 1 onwards,” he said.

“Many other countries have already decreased the wide distribution of free RATs, however this approach will ensure New Zealand continues to have good stocks of tests available as we enter winter.”

Te Whatu Ora National Public Health Service national director Nick Chamberlain encouraged people in Hawke’s Bay and across the motu to keep testing if they feel unwell or think they may have Covid. 

He said people should also report their RAT result, as confirmation of a positive result enabled people to be connected with any help and support they may need and provides “vital insight” on the number of active Covid cases across the country.

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air

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  1. times that “138 active” (reported) cases by perhaps as much as 10 and you might be more-or-less accurate… because most people i know are no longer reporting having Covid. example: we and 3 of our direct neighbouring households had Covid over the Xmas-New Year period; none of us (i know, our bad) reported it; and since as far as we could tell none caught it from the others, that means it came via 4 independent strains. so yes, it’s a pandemic.

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