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Respiratory clinics help meet COVID-19 testing demand

Demand for COVID-19 testing is seeing an increase in wait times at the Weston Creek walk-in clinic and drive-through testing facility at EPIC, prompting the ACT Government to remind the community about alternative testing facilities.

The ACT has conducted close to 27,000 tests since early March. Today (Wednesday 24 June), ACT Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith, said in the past 48 hours, the ACT conducted more than 1,000 tests, with Monday 22 June being the highest number in a single day.

“Primarily people are coming to our testing centres at EPIC and Weston Creek, so today is about really making sure that Canberrans also understand that they have these opportunities at Commonwealth funded respiratory assessment centres,” she said.

The Australian Government has allocated $206.7 million to support the establishment of more than 100 clinics across Australia.

Capital Health Network CEO, Megan Cahill, said a GP Respiratory Clinic is different to a COVID-19 Testing Clinic in that GPs do a full assessment “including taking a history, performing an examination, providing testing and treatment”.

“If symptoms are diagnosed as another illness, such as pneumonia, the GP can provide treatment during the appointment, before returning care to the usual GP,” she said.

“It’s essential that Canberrans continue to speak with their usual GP about their existing conditions and ongoing heath care at this time. Please don’t put off seeing your GP or getting a diagnostic test out of fear of contracting COVID-19. General practices are following stringent infection prevention and control measures.”

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, said everyone needs to play their part to prevent new cases of COVID-19 in the ACT.

“We really need Canberrans to continue being tested so we can understand what is happening in the community, particularly as we may start to see those respiratory illnesses circulating,” Dr Coleman said.

Locally, the Commonwealth funded GP Respiratory Clinics are located at Your [email protected], Lakeview Medical Practice Tuggeranong, and Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, which provides a free and culturally appropriate assessment and testing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and existing clients.

Doctor James Ayres from Lakeview Medical Practice said the number of people accessing the respiratory clinic is increasing.

“Yesterday we saw about 40 people and it’s continually rising. I think people are understanding the message once they get tested and get a negative result, it helps build confidence in the community.”

Dr Ayres encouraged people if they have flu-like symptoms, or believe they have symptoms, to come along and get tested, although warned it can be an uncomfortable experience.

“Think of the most painful thing you’ve had done and it’s probably up there,” he said.

“It is unpleasant, but I think the alternative is much worse.”

“If you manage it appropriately and you are calm and you are kind to them, it is not particularly pleasant, but it’s actually something that can be done very easily and very simply.”

Commonwealth funded GP Respiratory Clinics are located at:

  • Your [email protected] – 1/5 Baratta Street, Crace. People can book online at www.yourgpcrace.com.au or by calling (02) 6109 000.
  • Lakeview Medical Practice Tuggeranong– 1/216 Cowlishaw Street, Greenway. People can book online at www.lakeviewrespiratoryclinic.com.au or by calling (02) 6185 1986.
  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services – 63 Boolimba Crescent, Narrabundah. Before visiting, call ahead on (02) 6284 6222.

For further information visit www.COVID19.act.gov.au

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