Thursday, September 24, 2020

More than 2000 Sunraysia COVID-19 tests in July

"AMAZING" is how Sunraysia Community Health Services (SCHS) clinic program manager Shelley Faulks described the community's recent response to COVID-19 testing, with 2000 residents stepping forward to get swabbed last month.

Ms Faulks said there had been an increase in locals showing up for testing at both of the organisation's testing sites, particularly among those with mild symptoms.

"Being mindful that SCHS isn't the only agency that provides testing, we did over 2000 tests in July and so far in August we have already completed 460 tests," she said.

"So, we're getting a very good response."

Ms Faulks said those with symptoms, no matter how mild, should continue to present for testing at one of the sites.

She said with what would typically be cold and flu season under way, it was vital people did not ignore symptoms.

"I speak with a lot of people who say 'I get this cold every year', but we cannot ever assume that this year's cold is last year's cold," she said.

"We really do need people with any of the symptoms, no matter how mild, to come forth and get a test.

"That will give us a really good picture of what's going on in our local community."

SCHS's pop-up clinic runs behind Target on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30am until noon for people with mild symptoms.

Its respiratory clinic operates on weekdays from 1pm until 4pm on an appointment basis for people with moderate symptoms that would benefit from a GP assessment.

Ms Faulks said people who woke up with mild symptoms and could not access testing that day should not panic.

"If you aren't able to access testing on the day, it's quite safe to wait until the next available clinic to be tested," she said.

"Just stay home, self isolate from others in your household, practice good hand and cough hygiene and come and see us on our next available testing day."

Ms Faulks reminded people that it was now a requirement by law to isolate after testing until a negative result was returned and symptoms had subsided.

She said while the organisation was able to expand on testing times if required, most people were already being seen in a timely fashion.

Test results were still taking around three to five days to be processed, with some arriving within 36 hours.

Ms Faulks said it was important people remained vigilant in Victoria's fight against the second wave.

"We need to continue adhering to restrictions, to adhere to hand hygiene and wearing our masks when we're out in public to keep ourselves safe," she said.

People with moderate symptoms can call the SCHS hotline on 5021 7653 to organise an appointment.

COVID-19 symptoms:

- Fever

- Chills or sweats

- Cough

- Sore throat

- Shortness of breath

- Runny nose

- Loss of sense of smell