The COVID-19 testing clinic in Maryborough will soon close as the demand for PCR testing in the Central Goldfields declines, with the last day of testing on Friday 1 July.
Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) will continue to supply rapid antigen tests (RATs) to close contacts and people with COVID-19 symptoms.
MDHS Associate Director of Community Service Robyn Jordan said the closure of the testing clinic marked the end of an era as we shift to managing COVID-19 as a new norm.
“We would like to thank all of our staff involved in COVID-19 testing for providing this valuable service to our community,” said Ms Jordan.
“With less demand for PCR testing, we’re shifting our focus on care to other parts of the health service.
“Rapid antigen tests are still the cornerstone for testing in Victoria for people with COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
“Everyone’s first option should be a rapid antigen test. They are fast, accurate, and readily available from local pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores.”
MDHS started testing for COVID-19 in March 2020, as part of the region’s response to the pandemic. Since that time, MDHS staff have performed around 10,000 swabs.
“The response of our team has been nothing short of amazing,” said Ms Jordan.
“Frontline nurses and administrators have worked outdoors and tackled all sorts of weather conditions in full PPE to get this important job done, and our customer experience team has managed thousands of calls for appointments.
“We ramped up testing and tracking as needed to help contain the spread of COVID-19 as we’ve moved through different phases of the pandemic.
“The dedication of our testing team and response partners have played a vital role in keeping our community safe during these challenging times,” she said.
Over the past few years, MDHS has operated testing clinics from several locations as the service was scaled up and down to meet demand.
The first fever clinic opened in April 2020 at the former Wellbeing Centre on Clarendon Street.
MDHS then set up its first drive-through COVID-19 testing facility on Florence Lane in August 2021 to improve safety and convenience for residents and staff.
When demand increased during the initial outbreak in the Central Goldfields in October 2021, MDHS set up a large pop-up clinic at Lake Victoria, in partnership with Central Goldfields Shire Council and the Victorian Department of Health, for three weeks.
The team completed around 1,100 tests in October and again in December. The highest volume of nearly 1,200 tests was during the holiday period in January this year.
“This mammoth effort is just one of the many ways our team has worked with the Grampians Public Health Unit, local councils and other organisations to monitor and support the COVID-19 response effort,” said Ms Jordan.
Rapid antigen tests can be picked up at the main entrance at Maryborough Hospital from 10.00am to 11.00am on weekdays. Please wear a mask on entry. Test limits apply.
Residents can also get access to PCR testing at sites in Ballarat or Bendigo. To find out where to get tested visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au/get-pcr-test-covid-19.