TURNAROUND for COVID-19 test results are back within an average 24 to 48-hour wait in Ballarat.
The Courier has confirmed people tested at the Lucas fever clinic should now know their coronavirus status within two business days after what had been a blow-out in result lags from a statewide testing blitz.
A fortnight ago, The Courier had multiple reports of people waiting up to 12 days for COVID-19 test results. For those who present with even mild symptoms, such as those at the Lucas clinic, this meant self-isolation until a negative for the virus was confirmed.
Ballarat remains coronavirus-free to start winter with no new cases and no active cases, according to Victoria heath department figures on Monday.
The city has tallied 11 active cases but no new cases for two weeks.
Moorabool Shire still has one active case.
Victorian restrictions eased a little further on Monday due to low community transmission rates. Most notably under changes, cafes, restaurants and pubs are able to host up to 20 customers dining in under social distancing regulations and with details collected for rapid tracing.
Libraries, galleries, museums, amusement parks, places of worship, beauty clinics, nail salons and massage parlours will also be allowed to reopen, albeit with no more than 20 people.
People will also be permitted to stay in holiday homes and return to caravan parks and camping grounds.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has made clear there will continue to be a slow, phased easing in restrictions, following the fortnight-long statewide testing blitz from late April to better gauge the depth of the virus in communities.
A Ballarat Health Services-led campaign drew more than 5000 people for testing in the blitz, including more than 1200 people without symptoms screened within six days in a pop-up clinic at Morshead Park.
A Victorian health department spokesperson acknowledged a delay in results due to the blitz. The state had 15 laboratories working through COVID-19 tests.This included three public health reference laboratories, nine laboratories in public hospitals and three private providers.
More than 515,000 tests have been conducted in Victoria during the pandemic.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Victoria is 1,653 with an increase of four since Sunday.
There have been 168 confirmed COVID-19 cases acquired through unknown transmission.
To date, 19 people in the state have died from the virus.
Testing in Ballarat is primarily available now at the UFS-led clinic in the Lucas Community Centre. Anyone with even the mildest cold or flu-like symptoms, including a runny nose or sore throat or fever, is urged to have the free swab test. COVID-19 tests in Lucas are by appointment only, by phoning 4311 1571.
BHS has moved its resources into supporting the Lucas clinic and for pop-up testing for major employers as needed.
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