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COVID-19 testing only for the symptomatic

THE COVID-19 testing team from Wimmera Health Care Group has been disappointed by the number of people they have had turn away from the COVID-19 testing clinic in Horsham, as only symptomatic people are allowed to be tested.
Director Clinical Services Maree Woodhouse said that there have been multiple cases of people coming to the clinic at the request of their employer despite showing no symptoms for the virus.
“Under Department of Health and Human Services’ rules, we are simply not allowed to test asymptomatic people just because they have a letter from their employer requesting we do so,” Ms Woodhouse said.
The staff at the testing site have had to follow these rules and turn away anyone who is not presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.
Ms Woodhouse said, “We want people to get tested but to be eligible, they must have COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild they might be.”
She wants to make it clear that anyone who is experiencing symptoms should get tested immediately.
“We want people with any symptoms to continue getting tested, even if they have been swabbed before.
“We need evidence to show that the community is free of COVID-19 so the more proof of negative cases we have, the better.”
Last week the testing guidelines were updated by the Victorian Government to clearly state that freight industry workers do not need to be tested unless they have symptoms.
The only non-symptomatic people eligible for a COVID-19 test are people identified by the DHHS as a close contact of a known case and elective surgery patients requiring testing before an operation.
Wimmera Health Care Group has praised the region for being compliant throughout the pandemic and for following the rules.
“Wimmera Mallee people have done the right thing and no laws have been breached. Even those who tested positive have isolated correctly and kept the rest of us safe. We are thankful to everyone for that,” Ms Woodhouse said.
An average of 20 people per day have been tested at the Read Street clinic since the drive-through site reopened in August.

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