Testing capacity doubled at Albany’s drive-through COVID-19 clinic

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Dr James Turner at the drive-through clinic.
Camera IconDr James Turner at the drive-through clinic. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

COVID-19 and other respiratory virus testing capacity has doubled at Pioneer Health’s drive-through clinic, as the region prepares itself for the winter months.

After securing Federal Government support last Friday, the practice will now become an Australian Government Department of Health GP Respiratory Clinic.

Expenses of running the drive-through clinic, from testing to staffing, will now be covered by Federal funding, allowing the clinic to double the number of daily patients.

Pioneer Health’s Dr James Turner said 455 patients had presented to the drive-through clinic since it opened in late March.

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Of those 455 patients, 290 met testing criteria and had their samples analysed for COVID-19.

“We have been seeing up to 20 patients in a three-hour period, so we can double, and we can expand to longer hours if we need to,” Dr Turner said.

“We could test up to 80-100 patients a day if there is demand.”

People experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose and or a headache can be assessed while sitting in their car.

Patients will now need to book an appointment over the phone or online before presenting themselves to the drive-through clinic from 9am to noon.

“Through the next phase of the pandemic, we’ve got to be testing anyone who’s got respiratory problems,” Dr Turner said.

“We need to identify if there’s pockets of the outbreak.

“In other countries there’s been second waves of infection, so we expect there will be cases, but unless we’re testing we won’t pick them.”

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