Testing for COVID-19 ramps up

By Tara Whitsed

Testing for COVID-19 has ramped up in Greater Shepparton with Goulburn Valley Health testing more than 1500 people since late February.

GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said the Victorian Government had expanded testing criteria to better track the spread of the virus in the community, with more than 400 people tested during the past week at GV Health.

“Testing is now based on the clinical symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of age or occupation,” Mr Sharp said.

“These symptoms include any new fever or chills, acute respiratory infection, such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, headache, runny or stuffy nose or the loss of the sense of smell.

“As the testing expands, the public can be assured that it will also continue for people with symptoms compatible with COVID-19.

“This includes people with strong links to others who have had COVID-19 as well as healthcare workers and people whose employment and contact with the broader public may place them at higher risk.”

Healthcare workers and other frontline employees will be able to get their results faster, allowing them to quickly return to vital work in the community.

Mr Sharp also reminded the community it was imperative to maintain regular GP appointments and to seek medical treatment if unwell, in order to stay on top of regular health and wellbeing conditions and illnesses.

“I encourage people who have regular appointments with their GP not to put these off, but still attend to ensure you are staying well or receive necessary treatment should you become unwell,” he said.

Mr Sharp also said the availability of GV Health’s emergency services had not changed in light of COVID-19.

“I have seen reports that some people are not attending emergency departments or their GP as they do not want to burden the health system in light of COVID-19 related demands,” he said.

“One example was of a person that had chest pain over a number of days who delayed calling an ambulance and attending their local ED.

“This person did in fact have a heart attack and the outcome could have been different if treatment was provided earlier.”

Mr Sharp also said GV Health would increase the availability of elective surgery in a safe and equitable way from today after the recent announcement to resume services by the government.