Central Coat Newspapers request for information from NSW health Minister Brad Hazzard about wait times for COVID tests on Boxing Day has been referred to the Central Coast Local Health District.
CCN reported on boxing day that hundreds of people, including children and elderly residents, were told to expect a wait time of approximately five hours.
We asked Minister Hazzard to answer questions about whether or not he thought a five-hour wait time for a COVID test at a major regional hospital was acceptable.
In a written statement, the Central Coast Local Health District said: “Central Coast Local Health District operates two COVID-19 testing clinics at Gosford and Wyong hospitals.
“Both clinics were open today and will continue to operate throughout the festive season between 9am and 5pm.
“All other COVID-19 testing clinics in the region are run by private providers.
“Some of these clinics have closed over the holiday period.
“We understand that wait times may be frustrating for our community but our staff are working hard to get as many people tested as possible.
“Staff checked on those waiting for a test and updated people who would not be able to receive their test at our clinics today.
“Portable toilets were also provided at both testing clinics.
“We thank everyone who has come forward for testing for their patience and understanding.
For information about COVID the community can contact the National Coronavirus Health Information line on 1800 020 080.”
COVID test wait times have dominated the media in recent days and Minister Hazzard has made extensive comments including discouraging people from seeking tests unless absolutely necessary and intimating that every NSW resident should expect to contract COVID-19 at some stage.
“Generally what we are finding is… that Omicron is not as severe in terms of its impact on individuals,” he said.
Hazzard said people were reacting and getting into very long queues to get PCR tests.
“We need to consider why are people getting tested and why are we putting stress on our pathology services,” he said.
“I have heard also that I am getting it because I am visiting Auntie Mable in three or four days.”
Minister Hazzard said a rapid antigen test was a better option when visiting Auntie Mable.
“I would like everybody to think about whether you really need to call an ambulance…or go to hospital.
“It may not be necessary. If on the other hand you have serious symptoms…of course call an ambulance… but the bulk of people in those queues at the moment…it may well not be the case that you need to do that,” he said.
Hazzard stated that ten days after having your test if you are symptom free you don’t have to wait for anyone to contact you before you leave your home.
“This is a different way of dealing with it,” he said.