News

Huge expansion of COVID-19 testing at GV Health

By Madi Chwasta

Goulburn Valley Health has increased the number of people tested for COVID-19, as the hospital reports there are currently no inpatients being treated for the virus.

It comes after the state government announced it would aim to test 100 000 people around Victoria for COVID-19 in the next two weeks, ahead of a possible relaxing of restrictions on May 11 when the state of emergency will be reviewed.

GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said the hospital had been preparing to ramp up testing following the government's announcement, and more information on the rollout throughout the region would be available soon.

"GV Health has today been making arrangements for additional COVID-19 testing and this increased capacity for testing will increase from tomorrow,” Mr Sharp said on Wednesday night.

"In coming days, GV Health is planning to extend this to other GV Health sites in Shepparton, Rushworth and Tatura as well as across the region so that we can obtain a reasonable geographic coverage and understand what is happening more broadly in the community.

"Further information about the availability of expanded testing will be provided as soon as it is available."

He said the testing would target people working in healthcare or with vulnerable members of the community.

“There will be a particular focus on testing healthcare workers in hospitals, community services, residential aged care facilities and like settings,” Mr Sharp said.

“This includes people who do not have symptoms and are willing to be tested on a voluntary basis.”

Testing for COVID-19 has been available for anyone with symptoms of coronavirus, including fevers or chills, a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of sense of smell.

It was recommended people experiencing mild symptoms, such as headache, muscle pain, blocked nose, or nausea, also get tested.

Mr Sharp added the hospital was not treating any inpatients with a confirmed case of COVID-19, although testing for suspected cases has continued.

“There are currently no COVID-19 positive inpatients at Graham St, Shepparton,” he said.

“There is a small number of inpatients being assessed and treated for possible COVID-19 each day.

“Thankfully, these patients are testing negative upon pathology swabbing.”

The extra testing will be carried out via drive-through and walk-up clinics, as well as through mobile clinics, which will visit homes and workplaces.

Construction workers, supermarket workers and agricultural workers will also be targeted in this extra testing.

This testing will work in tandem with wastewater testing, where levels of coronavirus in sewage will help authorities track outbreaks.

The number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the region has remained steady for more than a week.

Greater Shepparton has reported 10 cases, Moira Shire has 11, Mitchell Shire has nine, Benalla Rural City has three, and Campaspe Shire and Strathbogie Shire each have two cases.

FOR MORE STORIES ABOUT COVID-19:

GV Health asks community to get pathology done later in day

Testing for COVID-19 ramps up

Second GV Health staff member tests positive for COVID-19