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    TEST, ISOLATE: A new drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic in Horsham tested 350 people throughout its weekend of operation. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Wimmera Health Care Group drive-through COVID-19 testing busy

A new drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic in Horsham is capable of testing up to 400 people a day if needed.

More than 800 people have tested for Covid-19 since the clinic opened on Saturday morning. A record 243 people tested on Monday and another 231 Tuesday.

Wimmera Health Care Group’s COVID-19 team opened the drive-through on Saturday with the support of six Australian Defence Force personnel.

The clinic operates daily from 9am until 5pm seven days a week for people with respiratory symptoms of any type, no matter how mild. 

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No appointments are needed for drive-through testing, but testing is exclusively for symptomatic people.

The clinic had briefly opened on Sunday for asymptomatic people, with no symptoms, before a clarifying directive from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Health group clinical services director Maree Woodhouse said chief executive Catherine Morley persuaded the department to support a drive-through testing station as clinic numbers soared last week.
“In a couple of weeks our assessment clinic went from between 10 to 20 tests a day to 40 or 50 tests,” she said.

“The opening of the drive-through clinic was paramount because we were going to be booked out for the weekend before it even started.

“We are expecting an influx of people over the next few weeks.”

Ms Woodhouse stressed testing would be exclusively for symptomatic people.

“The DHHS does not want us to test asymptomatic people,” she said.

“To be eligible for testing you must show symptoms or have been referred for testing by the DHHS as someone who has been in contact with a positive case.

“We want you to test even if you have the mildest of symptoms and we want you to come to the drive-through the moment you experience those symptoms – no matter how mild they are. If you can’t come straight away then isolate yourself until you can attend.” 

Ms Woodhouse said the other vitally important instruction for anyone tested was to isolate until they received notice of a negative result.

“As soon as you have been tested, you must go straight home and isolate until you are told you are clear,” she said.

“Isolation means no contact with anyone else, no visitors and use separate bathrooms and separate cooking and eating utensils from other householders. 

“We also strongly advise all community members aged over 12 years to wear a mask when they are out and about in the community and cannot guarantee consistent social distancing of 1.5 metres.”

 Entry to the Wimmera Health Care Group COVID-19 drive-through assessment clinic is via Arnott Street – from the Robinson Street end – opposite Jardwa Park. 

After testing, cars will exit left into Read Street.

People with no access to a vehicle are advised to attend Lister House Assessment Clinic by booking through its online service.

The entire July 29, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire July 29, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!