13 August 2021

Residents and visitors urged to be patient as COVID-19 testing queues grow

| Karyn Starmer
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COVID-19 tester holding swab

Traces of the COVID-19 virus have been found in Batemans Bay wastewater again. Photo: Mufid Majnun.

Health authorities are urging residents and visitors to be patient as queues for COVID-19 testing continue to grow across the region following the outbreak of virus cases in the ACT.

Queues for testing started outside all Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) hospitals yesterday afternoon and resumed again this morning (Friday, 13 August).

There are also reports of delays to register for testing prior to attending the walk-in clinics.

A SNSWLHD spokesperson said they are in the process of increasing capacity for both the phone lines and the testing clinics.

“We are working today to increase staffing at the testing sites and to register for a test,” said the spokesperson.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a large volume of people who are attending testing clinics simply for peace of mind rather than as a result of attending a listed exposure site.

“We are asking people to come forward to be tested only if you are experiencing symptoms, or if you have been identified as a close or casual contact by ACT Health.

“If you are only attending a clinic just to be sure, you are clogging up the system for those who have been directed to be tested.

“Please do not attend a clinic at this time unless you have symptoms, or you have been directed to do so.”

Cars queuing for Moruya District Hospital's COVID-19 testing facility

Traffic queued outside Moruya District Hospital’s COVID-19 testing facility on Friday, 13 August. Photo: Karyn Starmer.

The spokesperson said SNSWLHD is currently in discussions with private providers to enable an increase in the number of COVID-19 testing locations.

A full list of testing locations can be found here.

People with symptoms or who have been directed to test and isolate are asked to pre-register for a COVID-19 test by calling 1800 318 248 – the line is open daily from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm – or use the SNSWLHD enquiry form.

“If people are having trouble getting through, again I urge people to be patient,” said the spokesperson. “Today may be the peak day for enquiries so please bear with us.”

Anyone in NSW who has been in the ACT since Thursday, 5 August, must stay at home for 14 days after you were in the area and only leave their residence with a reasonable excuse.

Reasonable excuses include shopping, medical care, caregiving, outdoor exercise with a member of your household or one other person, and work or education, if you cannot do it from home.

READ ALSO Rural risk to unvaccinated ‘getting higher every day’

NSW Health continues to urge people who have been in the ACT since 5 August to regularly check the ACT Health website for information on ACT venues of concern linked to the latest COVID-19 cases.

If you attended any of the venues identified at the times listed, please contact NSW Health immediately on 1800 943 553.

People subject to stay-at-home measures in the ACT should not be travelling to NSW unless they are permitted to do so.

Everyone in NSW, including those in NSW areas along the ACT border, must continue to comply with all relevant public health orders that are in place in NSW.

People entering NSW who have been in the ACT in the past 14 days must also complete a declaration form. This is available on the Service NSW website, and can be completed in the 24-hour period before entering NSW or on arrival.

For people who travel frequently between the ACT and NSW, a declaration form is only required to be completed every 72 hours.

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