There are long queues at COVID testing clinics on the Gold Coast with reported waits of up to six hours following urgent advice from the State’s top doctor for more people to get tested.
Anyone in Queensland who has been in Victoria since December 21 is being told to get tested immediately and isolate until they get a negative result.
Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young says she is ‘very concerned’ at how the situation is escalating in Victoria.
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“Victoria’s own assessment of the situation is that the risk of spread is right across the state, not just in Melbourne, which is why they have imposed restrictions across their entire state,” Dr Young said.
“This is very serious and we’re taking this action now, like we did with New South Wales – this will ensure we know of any positive cases really early and we can manage our response accordingly.
ABC Breakfast presenter Lisa Millar is among those who are trying to get tested on the Gold Coast, tweeting that the line only moves when someone loses patience and leaves.
Six hour wait in the sun for COVID test on the Gold Coast right now. Mostly Victorians following govt request. The only time the line moves at the moment is when someone leaves because they’ve lost patience. #covid #queensland #victoria
— Lisa Millar (@LisaMillar) January 3, 2021
There are urgent calls for more testing facilities on the Gold Coast amid concerns about the long waiting times.
Currently, there are just three clinics where you don’t need a GP referral – Gold Coast University Hospital, Robina Health Precinct and Albert Waterways Community Centre in Broadbeach Waters.
But Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates says that is not enough.
“We need to expand the number of testing facilities where people don’t need to get a referral from a GP and then have to go to a pathology centre because that’s two stops to go and get a test when if we actually opened up the drive-through so that people didn’t need a referral people would be more likely to go,” Ms Bates said.
“We don’t want to turn away one person who’s doing the right thing who might have COVID.”
Standing in line at Gold Coast testing now. Line is over 5 hours wait from 10am. pic.twitter.com/TiqKuwkFRz
— Mark (@markjbhansen) January 3, 2021
There are also calls to reopen a pop-up clinic in Surfers Paradise.
The clinic was originally set up to target tourists at the height of the pandemic but was shut down permanently last month.
Ms Bates says it’s a ‘no-brainer.’
“Particularly when there’s been announcements about fragments of COVID in the waterwater treatment plants at places like Elanora and Merrimac.
“If you’re telling people that there might be COVID in the community then you need to provide the opportunity to make it easier people to go and get tested.