MDAS coronavirus virus test gives fast result

COVID-19 spot testing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families is now available in Mildura.

The service will be offered at the Mallee and District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) medical clinic.

The testing machine is understood to be the first of its kind in the area and can deliver a negative or positive result within 45 minutes.

MDAS clinic co-ordinator Jack McSwain said the service would help to slow the spread of the virus by increasing the speed at which contact tracing could be conducted.

He said the test would also ensure any person that delivered a positive result would receive the care they required more quickly.

"The machine gives a positive or negative result, so if someone does test positive to COVID-19, additional pathology tests would need to be done, but it means we can start caring for them sooner," he said.

The test is conducted through a nasopharyngeal swab, which is then analysed by the testing machine to produce a positive or negative result.

Standard COVID-19 tests can take up to four days to process.

Mr McSwain said while there had been no confirmed cases in Sunraysia for some time, it was important those with symptoms still got tested.

"Now is not the time to let our guard down," he said. "Our fight against this virus is far from over.

"It's really important people in our community continue to put their health first and get tested if they have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, even if the symptoms are mild."

Symptoms include fever, chills, sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of smell or taste.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50 or those who have a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes, asthma, heart and lung conditions, or immune problems are at higher risk of developing a severe illness associated with COVID-19.

The spot testing machine, which was made available to MDAS by The Kirby Institute, will continue to be used after COVID-19 eases to test for sexually transmitted diseases.

But Mr McSwain said the focus would remain on COVID-19 for the time being.

"Our medical clinics are a safe place for people to be and we have all the COVID-19 safety measures in place, so don't hesitate when it comes to making an appointment," he said.

To make a COVID-19 test appointment, call MDAS medical clinic on 5018 4100.