ARMIDALE DRIVE-THROUGH COVID-19 TESTING EXTENDED FOR THIRD WEEK

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

MP calls to for drive-through testing at Glen Innes, Inverell & Moree

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today called for drive-through COVID-19 testing sites to be established at Glen Innes, Inverell and Moree, as the service at Armidale Hospital was extended today for yet another week, due to high demand.

Mr Marshall said by this morning, all appointments at Armidale for the current working week were full, with more than 400 people already tested. There have been no positive result so far.

“Despite already extending the service and increasing the hours of operation, the phone line through to the COVID-19 testing clinic at Armidale Hospital is still running hot,” Mr Marshall said.

“To manage the continued rate of demand Hunter New England Health (HNEH) is extending the clinic for a third week from Monday, 11 May until Friday, 15 May.

“If you are someone who is exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath I urge you to call 0427 923 080 and book an appointment to be tested.

“Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms should isolate at home until they have received advice on their results from their GP or hospital.

“By making testing simpler and more convenient to access, health authorities have drastically expanded what they know about the prevalence and spread of the illness, which will help inform future easing of social distancing measures.”

Currently in the Northern Tablelands electorate there remains only three confirmed cases, with seven categorised as recovered.

Mr Marshall said he had written to HNEH to request drive-through testing services be established in other areas of the region.

“The initial purpose of the drive-through testing centre was to increase low rates of COVID-19 screening at Armidale, and I think it is safe to say that has been achieved.

“I think it is appropriate we now look at applying the same ‘blitz’ approach to other areas where testing rates are not high enough, including Glen Innes, Inverell and Moree, in order to rule out transmissions which may be going undetected there.

“Each of these three local government areas has had confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past, and I think it is only fair vulnerable residents in their communities are extended the opportunity to be tested in their own home town.

“HNEH has indicated it will consider putting in place drive-through testing sites in other areas once the regime in Armidale wraps up.

“Testing is the most targeted way of ruling out the existence of this terrible illness in our communities, which is why I will continue to pressure the health district over the next week to immediately relocate the service elsewhere, once Armidale closes.”

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