The CHIRP/Castlemaine Health COVID-19 Testing Clinic has seen a significant increase in demand for testing recently, with the team taking over 2,900 swabs in October alone. The clinic has introduced a new online form to help streamline bookings and reduce wait times for people coming through for tests.
Kerryn James, Executive Director, Community Services and Wellbeing at Castlemaine said: “We review the clinic on a regular basis to make sure it continues to meet community need. Our most recent analysis showed that we have completed more tests in the past two months than over the whole of the previous year.”
This increase was driven by a local outbreak in Mount Alexander Shire with several exposure sites in Castlemaine, combined with an expanding number of cases and exposure sites in surrounding areas.
The Chief Health Officer, Prof. Brett Sutton, warned this week that these numbers are expected to increase further as restrictions lift. “We are going to see more cases over the coming months than we have seen during the entire pandemic,” he said.
He also pointed to a greater number of infectious people travelling as the restrictions lift. “As we open up further, on Friday night, there will be more individuals who are infectious going to regional Victoria,” he said.
In response to the anticipated rise in COVID-19 case numbers, the testing clinic will offer an increased number of clinics over the coming months.
Community Nurse and COVID-19 Testing Clinic Coordinator, Bron Grieve, said: “We always aim to meet community need and provide a responsive service. We have recently streamlined our testing booking system with a dedicated booking registration number and an online registration form. This is already helping reduce wait times for people coming through, particularly given the large numbers of tests we’re doing each week.”
Anyone who needs a COVID-19 test should complete the new registration form available at www.chirp.org.au/covid-19 or call the COVID-19 Testing Line on 5479 1005 and leave your details. Your call will be returned and an appointment time booked in. All clinic details, including location, date and time, are also available on the website.
Ms Grieve said: “We are grateful to everyone who comes to be tested for booking in advance, and for their patience when the lines have been long.”