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Goulburn Valley Health has announced the establishment of a COVID-19 screening station and acute respiratory clinic.
The screening station is located in front of the GV Health Emergency Department and will test members of the public who have symptoms of the coronavirus daily from 10 am to 6 pm.
Testing for the virus had previously been managed by the emergency department.
Although there are not yet any confirmed cases of the virus in the Goulburn Valley, the demand for coronavirus-related services is expected to rise.
The acute respiratory clinic is separate from the screening station but is also located at the Graham St site.
GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said the hospital had undertaken a significant amount of preparatory work in order to manage the likely increased demand.
“This has been based on our existing Pandemic Plan, which we have made adjustments to in order to adapt to changing circumstances related to COVID-19,” Mr Sharp said.
“GV Health also has in place an incident management team that has overseen these preparations, and this will quickly transition to an emergency management response team when required.
“GV Health has also dedicated additional resources to manage the COVID-19 outbreak and is prioritising our clinical care and related activities accordingly.”
The local screening clinic comes as the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday there was a significant shortage of swabs and reagent kits for COVID-19 testing.
The department said it was critical clinicians limited the testing to patients who met the suspected case definition and used only one swab when testing.
The department said it was working hard to source testing kits and swabs, which were usually made in Milan.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said more cases of COVID-19 would continue to be seen in Victoria.
“We are reviewing this rapidly evolving situation daily and will continue to provide up-to-date information to the community,” Prof Sutton said.
“We are all focused on doing whatever is necessary to minimise the spread of infection and keep Victorians safe.”
Clinics have also been asked to provide details on request slips so high-risk patients and health care workers can be prioritised.
Notification of suspected cases to the department is now only required for healthcare workers and residential aged care workers and residents. The department said notification was no longer required for all other suspected cases.
However, notification for all confirmed cases is required immediately, as all close contacts of confirmed cases will be contacted by the department and told to home-quarantine for 14 days.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Victoria had 94 total confirmed cases and no deaths.
For more information visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus or phone the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.