Ramp up testing

SWAN Hill District Health has urged the community to participate in the increased testing for COVID-19 over the coming weeks.

Up to 100,000 Victorians will be tested for the virus over the next two weeks as part of a major testing blitz across the state, to better understand how the virus is spreading in the community and for the potential easing of restrictions.

Swan Hill District Health chief executive officer Peter Abraham was pleased the health service has not been overwhelmed as we have seen overseas and encouraged the community to continue following the advice coming from the government, including to participate in this increase in testing.

Anyone with symptoms including the common symptoms of COVID-19 infection (fever, breathing difficulties, breathlessness, cough, sore throat, fatigue or tiredness) should be tested, now along with anyone who has more mild symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Anyone who has any symptoms, no matter how mild, is encouraged to attend the acute respiratory assessment clinic, 28 High Street, Swan Hill, to be assessed for testing.

The clinic opening hours remain 11am-4pm Monday-Friday.

The clinic has tested more than 170 people.

"We are currently in the planning stages of increasing our community's access to testing on top of our existing successful acute respiratory assessment clinic where people are required to attend the clinic in person for a test," Mr Abraham said.

"We are looking at moving to a model where we can also deliver testing in the home.

"For example, if a vulnerable person was identified as requiring a test who cannot drive to the testing clinic or who relies on others to drive them to the clinic (which poses a transmission risk to their family or friends), we will be looking to go to their home to undertake the test."

Mr Abraham thanked the community for their support of the health service and their work to reduce the spread of COVI-19 in the Swan Hill community.

"We cannot become complacent, though, and our key messages of stay clean, stay home and stay kind are just as important now as they were at the start of this pandemic," he added.

The state government said more than 104,000 Victorians have been tested to date.

"Any decision to ease restrictions after the current state of emergency will be informed by public health experts and modelling, combined with international experience," it said in a statement.

The testing blitz will be carried out through a combination of drive-through and walk-up clinics, as well as new mobile screening clinics to visit homes and workplaces.

There are already 43 specialist sites across Victoria where testing can be undertaken, with more testing clinics to be opened during the week.