Hospital to map ‘new normal’

SWAN Hill District Health (SHDH) has praised the community for its support after 667 people were tested for the COVID-19 virus last week.

SHDH chief executive officer Peter Abraham said the clinic experienced a huge surge in demand over the course of the week pushing the total number of people tested in the region to 942 as of Monday.

"This was a massive effort on behalf of our staff and the community and we thank them for their support as we work to determine the level of COVID-19 in our community," he said.

"Testing was conducted at our High Street clinic in Swan Hill, with some mobile testing offered to patients where it was deemed not suitable for them to attend the clinic.

"Those who attended the clinic to be tested were primarily from the Swan Hill area, but also included residents from a range of outlying towns such as Lake Boga, Nyah, Piangil, Sea Lake, Murray Downs and Moulamein."

The clinic will now return to regular testing levels and only those with symptoms should present for the test.

"We encourage anyone with even mild respiratory symptoms to attend," Mr Abraham said.

"This includes anyone with a cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, chills or sweats, or loss of sense of smell."

The clinic is located at 28 High Street, Swan Hill and is open 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday.

Testing may be available closer to home for people in surrounding areas and Mr Abraham said enquiries should be made with local health services first.

There is no appointment necessary to attend the clinic and the visit is free of charge.

Mr Abraham reminded the community to continue to access the hospital for medical care as required.

"The health service is still here if you need us," he said.

"Please do not delay accessing medical care if you require it.

"Our health service is safe to visit and we are continuing to implement best practice measures to ensure the ongoing safety of our staff and patients."

In regards to visitors and access to the hospital, Mr Abraham said there were no changes to take place at this time.

"At this time there is no change to visiting hours or access to the hospital site," he said.

"We are working to map a transition towards the new normal and will undertake a review of what services we can begin to ramp up.

"This will be done cautiously and with the health of our patients and staff front of mind.

"Elective surgery resumed in the last week of April, prioritising urgent and high-priority cases.

"We are mindful that this pandemic is not over and our staff remain well-prepared to respond to any COVID-19 cases that may present in our community."