Erina COVID-19 clinic to stay open

Free COVID-19 testing at the Central Coast Respiratory Clinic has been extended until the end of September

People can continue to be tested for COVID-19 at the Central Coast Respiratory Clinic until the end of September after the Federal Government extended funding.

Anyone experiencing mild to moderate symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, tiredness, fever and shortness of breath can book in to be accessed and tested without a referral.

The clinic is a free, Federal Government initiative run by the not-for-profit Central Coast Primary Care and operates from the grounds of the EV church at Erina.

The respiratory clinic, which specialises in the COVID-19 testing, has taken 14,000 tests since opening on May 1, with zero tests returning a positive result.

Babies as young as six weeks old and residents in their 90s have been among those tested, with the most common testing occurring in the healthcare, aged care, disability and childcare and education sectors.

With cases of COVID-19 escalating throughout the country, Central Coast Primary Care’s CEO, Michelle Bradbury, said she has seen a significant increase in community demand, making the government funding extension extremely timely.

“We have been operating since May, and more recently in the past weeks, we have seen an increase in people making bookings to be accessed and tested for COVID,” she said.

“With the situation in Victoria heating up over the past few weeks, we need to remain vigilant and continue to test people with mild symptoms in our local community.

“It has come at a good time when we need to ensure the Central Coast community is safe, and one of the best ways to do that is to provide testing so we can react and treat people within the community if they do come back positive.

“We have extended our capacity by employing more nurses and administration staff, so we are testing up to 300 people a day, with a 12 – 24-hour turn around on the result.

“That’s the community demand.

To maintain minimal face-to-face contact, patients are required to remain in their car until five minutes before their appointment and then, at the appropriate time, people are guided to the testing area and then guided back immediately after.

Bradbury made it clear that the clinic only tests symptomatic people.

“If [people] are not symptomatic, then the way to get tested is to go to your GP, and they will refer you to the pathology centre,” she said.

Bookings are required to be tested and can be done online at Central Coast Primary Care or over the phone.

Jacinta Counihan

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