COVID-19

Where to go to get the fastest Covid PCR test

Just one hour after opening on Thursday morning, 26 of Melbourne’s testing locations were reporting queues over capacity and asking residents to look elsewhere — half as many as Wednesday. Just 19 drive-through testing sites continued to have capacity at 10am on Thursday, however wait times at these have already reached up to three hours. One testing site in Melbourne’s west was reportedly turning away patrons by 7am on Wednesday — one hour before they were set to open — saying the line had already exceeded the number of people they could test that day.“I drove in to the Wyndham Vale site around 7.30am hoping to get near the front of the queue,” local resident Michael Butler said. “The crowd controllers said I’d have better luck trying somewhere else. But I really don’t know if that’s true. I need to get a test for work.”Some people have reported waits of up to four days to receive the results, but, this week, Early Childhood Minister Ingrid Stitt said most results were being received within two days. “The latest advice that I have about results is that they are overwhelmingly still coming through within 24 to 48 hours,” she said. Four private pathology companies temporarily suspended PCR tests at 54 sites in a bid to clear their backlog, with the Department of Health warning they will likely remain closed for the remainder of the week. Confusion over when Victorian’s should get a PCR or rapid antigen test, has led health authorities to firm up guidelines for symptomatic people. Only people with Covid symptoms or a positive Rapid Atigen Test should get a PCR test. “We thank Victorians for their patience and understanding while we manage unprecedented demand on the network,” a Department of Health spokesman said. A Crowd-sourcing information website has also been developed, ‘Find a RAT’, to allow people to access data on which chemists and supermarkets have stock available. But across Victoria’s more than 200 testing locations, there are sites where you won‘t get stuck waiting. Central MelbourneBourke Street Melbourne walk in — Over capacity, avoidMelbourne Town Hall — Over capacity, avoidMunro Street hub Southbank — Over capacity, avoidMontague Street hub — Open, 120 minute waitThe Alfred hospital —Over capacity, avoidAlbert Park — Over capacity, avoidThe Royal Children’s Hospital — Over capacity, avoidMelbourne University Testing Clinic — Over capacity, avoidSt Vincent’s Hospital — Over capacity, avoidCohealth Collingwood — Over capacity, avoidMelbourne NorthMoonee Valley Racecourse — Over capacity, avoidDarebin Arts Centre — Open. 180 minute waitHeidelberg Repatriation Hospital — Over capacity, avoid4 Cyte Doncaster — OpenHume City Council — Over capacity, avoidCoolaroo Testing Hub — OpenMickleham Road Tullamarine — Over capacity, avoidKeilor Basketball Netball Stadium — Over capacity, avoidLatrobe University Bundoora Campus — Over capacity, avoidRMIT Bundoora East — Open, wait time unavailable Northern Hospital Epping — Open, wait time unavailable Northern Health Craigieburn — Open, wait time unavailable DVP Health Mernda — Over capacity, avoidMelbourne WestCohealth Footscray — Over capacity, avoidMelbourne Showgrounds — Open, 180 minute waitHampstead Road hub — Over capacity, avoid4 Cyte Sunshine — Over capacity, avoidVictoria University St Albans — Over capacity, avoidIPC Health Deer Park — Over capacity, avoidIPC Health Werribee East — Open, wait time unavailableIPC Health Wyndham Vale — Open, wait time unavailableACE Car Park Williams Landing — Open, 120 minute waitMelbourne Pathology Wootten Road — Open, wait time unavailableWestern Health Melton — Over capacity, avoid4 Cyte Pathology Melton — Over capacity, avoidMelton Football Netball Club — Over capacity, avoidMelbourne EastDeakin University — Over capacity, avoidChad Stone Golfers Drive — Over capacity, avoidACL Glen Waverley — Over capacity, avoidMonash University Clayton — Over capacity, avoid Brighton Golf Club — Open, wait time unavailableSt Kilda East — Over capacity, avoidWantirna Health — Over capacity, avoidWyuna Walk Mooroolbark — Open, wait time unavailable Melbourne South EastCentral Bayside Cheltenham — Open, 90 minute waitSpringers Leisure Centre Keysborough — Over capacity, avoidACL Dandenong — Open, wait time unavailable Monash Health Dandenong — Over capacity, avoidChelsea Basketball Stadium Bonbeach — Over capacity, avoidPeninsula Testing Hub — Open, 120 minute waitFrankston Hospital — Open, wait time unavailable Cranbourne Testing Hub — Over capacity, avoidCasey Fields Cranbourne — Over capacity, avoidChisholm TAFE Berwick — Over capacity, avoidIYU Recreation Reserve Pakenham — Over capacity, avoidRosebud Hospital — Open, wait time unavailable Goulburn ValleyGoulburn Valley Health‘s testing sites were being pushed to the limit on Tuesday morning with the drive-through clinic temporarily closing its gates to new patients before 9.30am.“We are currently experiencing high demand for our services. This, in conjunction with staff shortages, is putting increased pressure on our Covid testing sites,” GV Health said.“Our testing site at Shepparton Showgrounds is currently at capacity. The gates have now closed to allow staff to work their way through the queue waiting.“Community members who require testing this morning are advised to attend our testing site at Graham St.”Echuca Regional Health was also forced to close its screening clinic before 10.30am on Tuesday morning.“Our clinic will re-open at 8am tomorrow, Wednesday January 5,” ERH said in a statement.Albury Wodonga Several Covid testing clinics in Albury Wodonga were closed just hours after being open on Wednesday.Dave Speirs arrived at the Lincoln Causeway testing site at 5.30am and there were already 30 cars ahead of him.After a two and a half-hour wait, Mr Speirs was back in Wodonga, but the site was closed at 8.30am, along with the Smythe Street clinic.Georgia Farrington waited nearly four hours with her six-month-old son Fletcher at the Lavington Sports Ground.Ms Farrington said the whole experience was “distressing”.“Fletcher slept for a little while so it was okay,” Ms Farrington said.“But after that he was pretty upset and then of course getting the test wasn’t nice. He was sick when he was born so they struggled to get the test down his nose.”Siobhan Osmand was turned away from the testing clinic at the Albury Showgrounds and was sent to the Lavington Sports Ground, which closed at 10.30am.“I feel like people are just getting tested because [they can], not because they have symptoms,” Ms Osmand said.“People are stockpiling RAT tests which means the ones who do need them miss out.”BallaratOn Tuesday, the Ballarat Creswick Road drive-through testing clinic was temporarily closed to new arrivals so that it could clear its backlog.That policy remained in place on Wednesday morning.“The Creswick Rd testing clinic will continue to temporarily close when we experience high demand for the safety of our staff and those attending,” Ballarat Health Services said.“Please be aware that if you do not meet the requirements for a PCR test, you will not be tested.”On Tueday, contractors were directing drivers not to enter the slipway leading to the clinic, but instead to wait, if willing, across the road until the clinic opens again. One man in the car park outside had come from Maryborough having tried other clinics unsuccessfully, and had been waiting on Creswick Road about an hour.Another, a Ballarat local, had been in his car for 90 minutes and said he would give it perhaps another hour before giving up.Bass CoastBass Coast Health’s drive-through testing clinic at Cowes is temporarily closed due to staff shortages. It is unclear when it will reopen.The Wonthaggi drive-through clinic stopped accepting new cars from midday on Tuesday and a spokesperson for the centre said it would reopen on Thursday at 7am.“Our Wonthaggi testing tent will be open from 7am till 5pm today, Thursday and Friday” they said. “We urge symptomatic patrons to come early and line-up so your result can get to you as soon as possible.” On previous days this week the average wait time was about four hours.BendigoBendigo Health‘s Covid testing clinic had reached capacity by 9.30am on Wednesday morning, asking people to stay away and try again later in the day.“Our Covid testing clinic is at capacity. There is currently a large amount of people and vehicles at the McLaren Street site — please avoid the area if you can,” a spokesperson said. “If you have symptoms, isolate at home and try again later in the day or tomorrow.”The health service added the Emergency Department is under strain due to increasing presentations of Covid positive cases. “It is vital we preserve our ability to care for the most urgent cases and those who need admission to hospital,” Bendigo Health said. GeelongAll testing sites in Geelong reached capacity by 8am on Wednesday, with Barwon Health advising residents to wait and see if the lines clear. “Testing sites in our region are currently experiencing high demand due to the suspended operations of a number of private pathology providers,” a statement from the health provider reads. “Due to the high volume of tests being processed by laboratories across the state, patients are being notified of PCR results after 4 to 6 days.”

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