Six new drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites across Melbourne will open today, bringing the total to 10 shopping centres, as part of the Victorian Government’s blitz to test up to 100,000 people in two weeks. Additional sites in regional and suburban locations will come online in the coming days.
The new sites located at Bunnings West Footscray, Pacific Werribee, Pacific Epping, Watergardens Town Centre, Westfield Fountain Gate and Bayside Shopping Centre in Frankston are due to begin conducting tests this morning.
It comes after four new mobile coronavirus testing sites opened yesterday at Chadstone, Doncaster, Highpoint and Northland shopping centres – bringing the total so far to 10.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said: “This is about taking the testing to where people are out in the community. The more people we test the more we’ll know about the spread of the virus, which will help guide any decisions about potentially easing restrictions.”
The testing is taking place in the centre carparks, away from customers, retailers and visitors to help reach the state-wide target of 100,000 tests over the next two weeks. People are being tested in their cars via dedicated lanes with medical teams of GPs and nurses onsite seven days a week.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos encouraged Victorians with even the mildest symptoms to go get tested.
“This massive testing blitz will give us the best information about how this virus is spreading in the community – and I encourage anyone with even the mildest of symptoms to help us out and go get themselves tested.”
“These new mobile testing sites are located at shopping centres around Melbourne to make it as easy as possible for people to get tested – and there will be more coming online across the state.” said Mikakos.
Symptoms that should prompt people to get tested include fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, loss of sense of smell, or a runny nose. Even the most mild of symptoms could be a sign of coronavirus.
The testing sites will be manned by doctors, nurses and pathology collection staff – to provide a one stop shop.
The Victorian Government is working closely with conveniently located shopping centres who, as part of a broader industry effort, have offered to host mobile testing sites to ensure all relevant safety protocols are managed. Their support is critical and greatly appreciated.
Signage will be established to guide people into the mobile testing sites, which will be located near the busiest parts of the shopping centres, such as supermarkets, with appropriate traffic management systems in place.
Increased testing will provide a clear picture of how the virus is spreading and these results will inform any potential easing of restrictions as we move towards recovery.
Why are Victorians being encouraged to get tested?
- While the number of cases is low, there is still a chance that that the virus is present but undetected in the community.
- By increasing the testing for coronavirus (COVID-19), we can better track the spread of this virus.
- The increase in testing will provide a clearer picture of how the virus has spread in Victoria and will inform any potential easing of restrictions once the State of Emergency is reviewed by 11 May 2020.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said “We’ve asked a lot of Victorians to be tested – the plan we put in place to slow the spread of this virus is working. And if we keep working together and keep doing the right thing, we will get to the other side of this crisis. By increasing the testing for coronavirus and widening the testing criteria, it gives us more evidence and therefore more options when it comes to slowly lifting restrictions.”
People will need to bring their Medicare card, or if they don’t have one, at least one form of identification. This will ensure international students and other visitors can also be tested if required.