As the demand for Covid-19 testing drops, Te Kaika’s Oamaru testing centre has reduced its hours.

The drive-through centre, which opened at Awamoa Park in February, initially started as a Wednesday to Sunday service for both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid antigen testing (Rat).

Four weeks ago, the centre began opening for seven days a week, as Covid-19 spread throughout the Waitaki district.

However, last week, with demand dropping, the centre reverted back to five days a week, with new opening hours from Thursday to Monday.

Te Kaika project manager Ellery Fruean said demand for the centre “comes in waves”, depending on the spread of Covid-19, and there was no longer a need for the service to be open every day.

The hours would continue to be monitored, and updated on HealthPoint, as they would change depending on demand.

“It has been noted by the clinical lead that Monday is now our busiest day, so we feel it was a good move to extend our opening days,” Mr Fruean said.

Since it opened, the centre’s 19 staff members have done 599 PCR tests and distributed 2822 Rats to household contacts and those with Covid-19 symptoms.

Before Oamaru, Te Kaika opened testing centres in Queenstown and Dunedin.

“We went into this opening prepared with prior experience and it went smoothly considering the high demand for our services when we first opened.”

The centre will be closed from from April 15 to 18 for Easter Weekend, and will reopen on April 21.

“We’d like to remind the community that this is a free service we offer and we hand out free Rat tests.”