Coronavirus: Frustration remains despite triage centres springing up across Auckland

Triage centres are popping up across our largest city in a bid to keep health workers and patients safe from COVID-19.

GPs are now able to refer people for testing but there's rising frustration many are slipping through the net.

It's back to basics - a red sticker for those presenting with coronavirus symptoms and a green sticker for the all-clear to head through to a COVID-19-free environment

Triage tents are being set up outside Auckland health clinics which have been flat out since lockdown-eve on Wednesday.

"We saw around 450 patients through on that day. It was a little bit quieter the last two days, about 350 patients each day," says White Cross Healthcare CEO Dr Alistair Sullivan.

In the midst of the level 4 alert, most GPs are moving online. But in lower socio-economic areas like south Auckland for many face-to-face is the only option.

"A large number of people fall into the vulnerable population, high incidence of diabetes, long-term chronic conditions but are otherwise well so we wanted to make sure they stayed well," Dr Sullivan says.

When you arrive at one of the hubs, a nurse will ask you a few questions. If you meet the case definition of COVID-19 you'll be given a map and sent to an assessment centre.

Otherwise you'll be given a coloured sticker and sent to the right area of the clinic for something like a vaccine or a general check-up.

The Local Doctors in Otara is sending a steady stream of people to assessment centres but on Saturday the St Lukes site was noticeably quieter than Wednesday.

It's frustrating for people who want to be tested but don't fit the criteria.

One North Shore resident has flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath but since he hasn't been overseas or in contact with a confirmed case he doesn't qualify.

"It just doesn't make any sense," Johan Bezuidenhout told Newshub. "It's really disappointing, to be on the phone for an hour and 13 minutes and then being told I'm low risk."

GPs are able to use their judgment to send a patient for testing and with more triage centres opening across the country, everyone should be able to be treated safely.