ROSEBUD Respiratory Clinic has detected an average of 60 positive cases of COVID-19 in the past few weeks and 54 cases last week.
The figures show the virus is still running riot on the Mornington Peninsula, as the bulk of the testing in the region is done at the Rosebud and Frankston hospitals and at state government-run pop-up clinics.
Schools have been hard-hit, too, with outbreaks at Red Hill, Boneo, Rosebud, and Mount Martha primary schools, St Mary’s Hastings, and Peninsula Grammar.
Dr Sally Shaw said Rosebud Respiratory Clinic offered free Rapid Antigen testing, with results sent to the patient via SMS within 15 minutes. “This is important for people concerned they have inadvertently picked up the virus and are worried about their vulnerable loved ones,” she said.
The more-common PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) high nasal swab test detects the viral DNA and is much more accurate than the RAT, Dr Shaw said.
“Because it is actually picking up the DNA it is always accurate, whereas the Rapid Antigen Test picks up a protein on the virus. Because it needs a significant viral load it can be negative at the start of the illness, and at the end of the illness where the patient is not shedding a lot of virus.
“People who are double vaxxed will not shed as much virus so it is important for them to wait for the PCR results which we are turning around in 24 hours.”
Rosebud Respiratory Clinic uses a medical grade Rapid Antigen test with a high sensitivity and specificity that is not available to the public, Dr Shaw said. “In a clinical setting, we can be accurate in performing the buffer solution and timing testing, and are able to ensure that the test is done correctly.
“Without these measures in place the failure rate of the public RAT test is higher than stated by the manufacturer. Also, the low nasal swab is not uncomfortable.”
Dr Shaw said her practice conducted the only clinical comparison of Rapid Antigen testing with PCR. “In our two-week study we saw 3783 patients of which we received 70 positive RATS results but also 12 results which were false negatives.”
Dr Shaw said Rosebud Respiratory Clinic did about 15 per cent of the COVID-19 testing on the Mornington Peninsula.
The clinic, at 1391 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud, is open weekdays 9am-7pm and weekends 9am-5pm. Call 0436 033 507.