A new COVID-19 testing clinic will be established in Ballarat.
The new site, to be situated in Lucas, is being established to take the pressure off Ballarat's existing health services.
The City of Ballarat is partnering with UFS Medical to facilitate the new COVID-19 testing site at the Lucas Community Hub.
The temporary testing facility will open on Tuesday, 14 April and will operate from Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm.
Importantly, the clinic will not be a walk-up facility.
Appointments must be made and everyone attending the centre for testing must have a referral from their GP. Testing is only available to people who meet the government's current criteria for testing.
Currently, Ballarat only has 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases and that number has not grown for eight days.
The clinic is funded by the Commonwealth government and up to eight staff will be on site.
The Lucas site was chosen because it easily accessible, has good parking, provides individual clinic rooms for testing and allows for appropriate spatial distancing, according to the City of Ballarat.
All City of Ballarat Child and Maternal Health Services have ceased at the Lucas Community Hub and the Lucas Kindergarten relocated.
The other COVID-19 testing clinic at Phoenix P-12 Community College in Sebastopol will remain open.
UFS CEO Lynne McLennan described the facility as an incredibly important initiative for the Ballarat community.
"This facility is an important part of the response that will help local residents rapidly access testing and advice and be referred back to either their General Practitioner or Ballarat Health Services for ongoing care," she said.
She added the facility would be able to test about 130 people per day and that between 40-80 people are currently being tested per day.
Mayor, Councillor Ben Taylor, said the testing facility would help the early detection of any COVID-19 cases in the Ballarat region and provide the necessary support for those people referred for testing.
"UFS is a proven, trusted leader in community health and medical delivery, and I am confident their trained clinical staff will deliver a quality, safe and responsive health service at this testing clinic," Councillor Taylor said.
Member for Ballarat, Catherine King said the Commonwealth funded respiratory clinic would take pressure off hard working hospital staff and GPs by diverting all potential coronavirus patients to an accessible testing location.
"This will make our community better able to identify cases, stop the spread and save lives," she said.
Liberal Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson also welcomed the new testing site.
"While the pandemic is not widespread in regional areas as yet, it's important we have local doctors leading the local response and preparation for their communities," Senator Henderson said.
"The clinics will help to reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments and other general practice clinics."
COVID-19 hotline 03 43 11 15 71
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