MORE than a quarter of a million people have been tested at Peninsula Health’s COVID-19 screening clinics since the first swab was taken in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region 18 months ago.
The milestone was reached on Thursday 2 September at the health service’s drive and walk through testing site, on the old tennis courts next to Frankston Hospital.
Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula now have some of the highest testing rates in Victoria.
Dozens of staff – including nurses, allied health, ward clerks, security guards and traffic controllers – have run permanent and temporary locations. The mobile team has covered hundreds of kilometres since the onset of the pandemic, manning testing sites from Seaford to Portsea.
COVID-19 screening clinics operations director Jodi Foley said the community had done an “amazing job” getting tested, whether it be at the earliest sign of symptoms or attending a new exposure site.
“We are so proud of the efforts from everyone in Frankston and right across the peninsula who continue to come forward for a test,” she said.
“Our capacity has significantly increased since we started this work just over a year and a half ago, with the scaling up of our equipment and workforce now able to take up to 2000 coronavirus tests a day.
Swab test results were available in less than 24 hours.
“We know COVID-19 is moving throughout metropolitan Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria through community transmission but we only know of these locally acquired infections through ongoing testing,” operations executive director Helen Cooper said.
“Be aware of the most common coronavirus symptoms, including fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of sense of smell.”
Ms Cooper said it was important for the community to remain vigilant by staying on top of exposure sites.
“We have seen a number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 exposure sites recently in and around our region, including Rosebud, Carrum Downs and Seaford,” she said.
“We ask everyone to regularly check the Department of Health website and our Facebook page for updates, to see when additional exposure sites have been published online. Importantly, please follow the health advice.
“With community transmission occurring, we would like to remind our entire community that the most effective way to reduce transmission is to wear a mask, practice hand hygiene and maintain appropriate physical distance from others.”
For a list of testing sites visit peninsulahealth.org.au/covid19screeningclinics