Covid-19 testing van visits Talbingo and Adelong

The testing clinic visited Talbingo on Friday morning. Sixteen people visited the clinic.

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Mobile Testing Clinic visited Talbingo and Adelong last Friday as part of it’s travels around the region.

In total, 29 people came forward for a Covid-19 test. 27 people were walk-in patients, with just two people making formal appointments for the day. 16 people visited the Talbingo clinic, and 13 in Adelong.

MLHD Nurses Bronwyn van Ras and Rachelle Garvey administered tests throughout the day, saying they were pleasantly surprised with the turnout. They said that people in Talbingo seemed particularly appreciative of the initiative.

On Friday, MLHD’s Director of Medical Services Dr Len Bruce said that it has now been six weeks since a case of Covid-19 has been identified within the health district. Out of the 45 confirmed cases across the MLHD since the pandemic began, there is only one active case remaining. The patient is in the Cootamundra-Gundagai LGA.

Dr Bruce said he is pleased at the number of tests that have been completed across the MLHD, with the number now sitting at over 10,100.

“Not that we’re competing with other LHD’s, but we’ve moved out of the last spot and we’re up there with the big boys which is really good,” he said.

He credited the testing numbers to “tremendous community engagement”, including initiatives such as the Mobile Testing Clinic.

As Covid-19 restrictions begin to relax as of June 1, Dr Bruce said that in order to prevent a second wave of the virus, “testing is absolutely essential.”

“If you’re in any way unwell, the mildest of symptoms, get tested because then we can identify and look after you to make sure you don’t deteriorate,” he said, referencing a Queensland case in which a 30-year-old man died after being symptomatic for weeks, only being confirmed to have Covid-19 after his death.

“Our main concern is that people will forget why we’ve done so well, and the reason why we’ve done well is we’ve all worked together,” Dr Bruce said.

MLHD nurses Bronwyn van Ras and Rachelle Garvey administered Covid-19 tests throughout the day to those in Talbingo and Adelong.

He stressed the importance of hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing as gatherings begin recommencing and venues re-open. He also wants to remind the community that they may have to get tested more than once.

“If you recover and tested negative and you become ill again in the future, sadly you need to have another one of those tests because we will not be able to guarantee that it won’t be Covid the next time,” Dr Bruce said.

Admitting that “we will probably see more cases” as restrictions continue to relax, Dr Bruce reassured that the MLHD is continuing to work behind the scenes on minimising the risk of a second wave.

“We would think that there could be other outbreaks, but if we manage it appropriately and…we are well prepared, the impact will be less,” he said.

“Australia’s done extremely well, really, one of the best countries in the world.”

On Saturday, NSW recorded no new cases of Covid-19 from over 9000 tests. This is the second time since the pandemic began that no new cases have been recorded in the state.

There is also just one Covid-19 patient in Australia on a ventilator as of Sunday, with 21 people in total hospitalised.

Dr Bruce said that the MLHD has been able to do more testing at the laboratory at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, and the turnaround time for testing is now about 30 hours.

“We know it’s an inconvenience for people to take time off work, but now it will really be one day and it’s probably not a bad idea to stay away from work when you’re unwell because even if you don’t have Covid disease, you don’t want to go and infect your colleagues with one of the other viruses that are more prevalent during winter time.”

The National Cabinet has also given direction for elective surgeries to resume, and with permission from NSW Health, the MLHD will go to 75 per cent of the surgery that has been deferred by the end of June.

“We’ve started doing cataract surgery, joint replacement surgery and for families with children waiting to have their tonsils taken out, the first lists were done yesterday,” Dr Bruce said.